North America and the Caribbean

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Rentboy CEO Fined and Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail

It has been almost two years since the offices of Rentboy were raided by the New York Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security on 25 August, 2015. Six employees were arrested alongside CEO Jeffrey Hurant, but changes against every except Hurant were dropped after a the case became the subject of national attention with condemnation coming from LGBT and Human Rights organisations such as Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and Human Rights Watch. 

New Database Tracks Human Rights Violations in the Caribbean

NSWP Member Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), a working group of organisations and leaders advocating for populations affected by HIV, launched an online database this month. The Shared Information Database

Alaska May Expand the Definition of Sexual Assault to Include Police Officers who Engage in Sexual Activity with Sex Workers Before Arresting Them

In the state of Alaska in the United States, a legal battle over the right of police officers to engage in sexual conduct with sex workers before arresting them is bringing public attention to a national issue. Two bills HB112/SB73 introduced earlier this year would add an addendum to expand the definition of sexual assault to include instances of “peace officers” engaging in sexual conduct or penetration with a perpetrator that they are in the process of investigating.

U.S. San Francisco Bay Sex Worker Film and Arts Fest

The 19 May is the start of the bi-annual San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film and Arts Fest (SWFAF) taking place across San Francisco and Oakland, California. SWFAF was started in 1999 by Carol Leigh, also known as Scarlot Harlot. She is a film maker, archivist and activist who coined the term 'sex work' during a conference in 1979 or 1980 as an alternative to the phrase 'Sex Use Industry'. She wanted to place emphasis on the agency of the provider rather than the customer, and the term has become broadly used across the globe.     

CEDAW Shadow Report on Canada

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform and Pivot Legal submitted this shadow report to the 65th CEDAW session. This shadow report documents the human rights violations affecting Canadian sex workers since the passage of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which criminalises sex workers, clients, third parties, advertising websites, and made modifications to migration regulations. 

Canadian Sex Workers Convene for National Consultation on PrEP

In October 2016, Triple X and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DPLHS) collaborated to hold a convening in Toronto, Canada, bringing together 50 sex workers and health providers from all across the country to discuss concerns and share information regarding the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) - a once daily pill that is prescribed to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

United States' Anti-Trafficking Sting mocks Sex Workers while Backpage Lawsuit Heats Up

In March 2007, Polk County Police Department engaged in 'Operation March Madness' a sting resulting in the arrests of 104 people, including 38 sex workers, 51 clients and 14 for related charges. Polk county has a reputation for large scale stings to get media attention. In the same county Operation 'Trick or Treat' arrested 95 sex workers and clients on Christmas Eve 2015. It came under criticism for the targeted ridiculing of transgender people by the Sheriff by the National Center for Transgender Equality.