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Gay Men, Transgender People and Sex Workers Outraged Over Failed Political Declaration From the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects, The Global Network of Trans Women and HIV (IRGT), Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE),  and MSMGF (The Global Forum on MSM & HIV) together with the Global Platform to Fast-Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses Among Gay and Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (The Platform) are deeply disappointed by the adoption of a flawed Political Declaration today at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS (HLM).  The Political Declaration inexcusably fails to meaningfully address the HIV epidemic among key populations, including gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, and transgender people.

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Theme: Human Rights

Gay men and sex workers worldwide express anger over attempts by governments to erase key populations from the 2016 UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.

On May 27th, new draft language was released for the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, which is scheduled to be finalized in New York City next week (Wednesday, June 8 to Friday, June 10) at the United Nations. The Global Network of Sex Work Projects and MSMGF (The Global Forum on MSM & HIV) together with the Global Platform to Fast-Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses Among Gay and Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (The Platform) are deeply concerned with numerous changes made in the new draft, which erase key populations from the global HIV response.  As the final political declaration will be issued during next week’s United Nations High-level Meeting on HIV and AIDS, we urge our partners to take bold and fast actions now to influence decisions made by UN delegation members.

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Theme: Human Rights

NSWP’s editorial in Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience, provides an overview of sex workers’ resistance and resilience in Lyon, France from 1972 to 1975. In 1975 sex workers occupied the Saint Nizier Church in Lyon to demand their rights be respected. Their goal was to end the legal oppression of sex work and ensure sex workers’ rights are protected.

Download this resource: PDF icon Editorial, NSWP - 2016.pdf
Theme: Human Rights

Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and French. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here

NSWP welcomes Amnesty International’s Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfill the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Amnesty International calls for the decriminalisation of all aspects of adult consensual sex work including all laws which criminalise sex workers, clients, and third parties. Amnesty International also calls for the end of the discriminatory enforcement of other laws against sex workers, such as vagrancy, loitering, and immigration requirements.

Theme: Human Rights

NSWP wishes to clarify a number of issues in the light of some recent media coverage on the subject of the decriminalisation of sex work. Several articles have appeared recently that have made some alarmist and extremely misleading statements in response to an original article in the New York Times Magazine (published 5th May 2016).

As a sex worker-led global network with 262 member organisations across 77 countries from Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America, representing tens of thousands of sex workers from diverse cultures and experiences, NSWP has a fundamental right to be involved in consultations around international and national policies that impact on sex workers’ lives and work. Attempting to silence sex workers by denying our agency and calling us pimps, traffickers and industry lobbyists is unacceptable.

The sex workers’ rights movement is committed to the full decriminalisation of sex work in the belief that it will help sex workers organise to eliminate exploitation, oppression and violence and address unfair and abusive working conditions instituted by state and non-state actors. Branding the decriminalisation of third parties as an attempt to ‘legalise pimps and brothel keeping’ undermines sex workers in their struggle for labour rights and justice.

Theme: Human Rights

This is a Community Guide to the HIV and STI Testing and Treatment Policies briefing paper. It focuses on sex workers' experiences of HIV and STI testing and treatment programmes around the world. 

Theme: Health

NSWP is calling on the Turkish government, Turkish police, and the Turkish justice system to take urgent action to uphold the human rights of male, female, and transgender sex workers. Sex workers have the same right to protection from the law and access to justice as other people. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect without discrimination. The occupation and gender identity of sex workers should never be used to deny access to justice, health services, or social services.

According to a 2015 survey by Transgender Europe entitled Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide Project, 79 percent of transgender sex workers interviewed in Turkey reported experiencing police harassment. According to the Project for the Mapping of Violence Against and Legal Support for Trans Sex Workers, one in every two sex workers has experienced violence, and 50 percent of this violence was perpetrated by the police.

Transgender sex workers in Turkey are particularly vulnerable to violence, including from the police. In May 2015, NSWP published an article about seven transgender women who were violently attacked in different cities across Turkey. Two days after these attacks, more than 100 people gathered in Ankara to protest about violence against transgender people in Turkey.

This is the 14th issue of NSWP's quarterly newsletter ‘Sex Work Digest’, covering the period October to December 2015. In addition to the important news stories during the quarter, this issue features a large number of new NSWP advocacy tools and other publications launched in the preceding 3 months.

Download this resource: PDF icon SW Digest Issue 14 Oct - Dec 2015.pdf
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This briefing paper explores sex workers' experiences of HIV and STI testing and treatment programmes from a global perspective. Sex workers are rarely included in the development and implementation of programming. Programming that does exist often violates the rights of sex workers. Through case studies and interviews, this briefing paper demonstrates there is a need for greater investment in appropriate, high-quality, rights-based services, and research led by sex workers in order to meet the specific needs of this population.

Theme: Health

The Global Fund workshops are a series of five-day workshops which took place in 2015, organised by NSWP in partnership with regional sex worker-led networks. The Global Fund is one of the world’s largest funders for providing testing, treatment and care for people living with HIV. The workshops are designed to provide sex worker communities with essential information for understanding The Global Fund. This case study describes the goals, strategies and impact of the workshops.

Theme: Health

This is a Community Guide to the Stigma and Discrimination Experienced by Sex Workers Living with HIV briefing paper. It looks at the different types of stigma and discrimination experienced by sex workers living with HIV globally. This community guide provides recommendations for policies and practices which respect their  human rights. It uses case studies that highlight the experiences of sex  workers living with HIV and the efforts required to meet their needs, and advocate for their rights.

This briefing paper looks at the different types of stigma and discrimination experienced by sex workers living with HIV globally. Sex workers living with HIV are at increased risk of violence, criminalisation and vulnerability to other infections. This briefing paper provides recommendations for policies and practices which respect their  human rights. It uses case studies that highlight the experiences of sex workers living with HIV and the efforts required to meet their needs, and advocate for their rights. A Community Guide is also available.

Today marks the 12th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. For twelve years, sex workers have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers. The issues faced by sex workers vary from region to region. These differences are due to different laws, social and cultural contexts, but one common issue faced by all sex workers is their vulnerability to and experience of violence.

Theme: Violence

Around the world, sex workers are organising to improve protection of their rights, end exploitation and violence, access appropriate and respectful health care and build movements for lasting change. The Smart Sex Worker's Guide to Sustainable Funding contains practical information on funding strategies for sex worker organisations. It discusses developing a funding strategy, applying for grants, financial management and community-based fundraising.

In August 2015, the International Council of Amnesty International voted in favour of a resolution to develop and adopt a policy that protects the human rights of sex  workers, including full  decriminalisation of all aspects of consensual sex work between adults. This case study reflects on the process towards Amnesty International's resolution, its impact so far and on the roles of NSWP and NSWP member organisations in this process.

This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA). The SWAA is a ground-breaking learning programme for community empowerment and capacity building, led by and for sex workers. The Academy brings together national teams of sex workers from across Africa to develop organising skills, learn best practices, stimulate national sex worker movements, and strengthen the regional network.

This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT), and NSWP's role in this process. The SWIT resource, produced by the World Health Organization, provides practical guidance for implementing effective HIV and STI programmes for sex workers. It emphasizes the importance of decriminalisation of sex work, the involvement of sex workers in developing policy, and the empowerment and self-determination of sex working communities as a fundamental part of the fight against HIV. An accessible 24-page Smart Guide to the SWIT is also available.

Theme: Health

This is a Community Guide to the Advocacy Toolkit: The Real Impact of the Swedish Model on Sex Workers, a collection of papers on the harmful Swedish model. It can be used to challenge the widespread promotion of this detrimental legal and political approach to the regulation of sex work.

This is a summary of the findings of the Economic Empowerment: Does Rehabilitation Have a Role? briefing paper and the Overcoming Practices that Limit Sex Worker Agency in the Asia Pacific Region briefing paper. In this summary, NSWP reflects on the impact of economic empowerment programmes for sex workers.