Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

The North America and the Caribbean Region is made up of several country and regional networks, including a variety of organisations in Canada, the United States, and throughout the Caribbean.

Board members

Serpent Libertine (SWOP-Chicago), USA.

Quincy McEwan, (Guyana Sex Work Coalition), Caribbean


California voters will have the chance to vote on restricting porn performers to using condoms next year. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the upcoming 2016 vote earlier this month, according to the Washington Post. The vote comes after several years of campaigning by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).

24th November 2015 by NSWP

Sex workers in Vancouver, Canada, are planning to create a permanent memorial for their coworkers. Sex workers announced their plans at a community meeting on November 4, 2015.

The West End Sex Work Memorial Project was founded by sex worker activist Jamie Lee Hamilton and sociologist Becki Ross of the University of British Columbia. The memorial is planned for Vancouver’s West End, an area where many sex workers worked in the 1970s-80s.

16th November 2015 by NSWP

The Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights is speaking out against claims that a major sporting event will increase “sex trafficking” in their city. In the lead up to the Grey Cup, a football event, government officials have set up over $45,000 CAD worth of funds to combat “human trafficking” in Winnipeg. The funds will be used to set up a phone hotline and an awareness campaign called Buying Sex is Not a Sport.

5th November 2015 by NSWP

Local LGBT, sex worker, and Haitian women’s groups are speaking out against the violation of their rights in the Dominican Republic, reports Diario Libre. Haitian women and members of the LGBT community are often cited as victims of “sex trafficking” in the Dominican Republic. Many work in the sex industry due to job discrimination. NSWP’s Briefing Paper, Sex Work is Not Trafficking, explores this topic.

4th November 2015 by NSWP

Squirt, a Canadian gay sex website owned by Pink Triangle Press, announced October 21st that they have pulled escort ads from their service according to Daily Xtra.

23rd October 2015 by NSWP

NSWP, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, emphatically condemns the actions of the USA’s Department of Homeland Security and federal prosecutors in New York for the raid on the offices of and the arrests of seven of its staff members.

This action appears to be a blatant, morally-driven discriminatory attack on gay consensual sex. The New York Times Editorial Board have stated that the criminal complaint that resulted in this raid was so saturated with sexually explicit details, it’s hard not to interpret it as an indictment of gay men as being sexually promiscuous.’ Many USA activists, LGBT community members and commentators have highlighted the increasing climate of homophobia that they identify as having accompanied the tenures of Mayor De Blasio and the Commissioner of NYPD, William Bratton.

NSWP’s opposes all forms of criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work (including sex workers, clients, third parties, families, partners and friends). The term ‘third parties’ includes managers, brothel keepers, receptionists, maids, drivers, landlords, hotels who rent rooms to sex workers and anyone else who is seen as facilitating sex work. Sex workers and our allies actively campaign for full decriminalisation of sex work for a number of reasons, including promoting safe working conditions and labour rights for sex workers; Increase access to health services and reduce sex workers’ risk of HIV and STIs; Increase sex workers’ access to justice; Reduce police abuse and violence; Help to tackle exploitation and coercion when it does occur.

Sex workers need to be able to communicate openly with clients and managers without constantly fearing arrest, police harassment or worse. Sex workers often use advertising websites to screen clients for their own safety.

The timing of this raid could not be more acutely out-of-step with the overwhelming body of evidence and the findings of international bodies such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, who recommend that governments should work towards the decriminalisation of sex work and The Lancet which recently published a special series on HIV and Sex Workers, which also recommends the decriminalisation of sex work.

Amnesty International’s global movement recently voted to adopt a policy to protect the human rights of sex workers, including the full decriminalisation of sex work at their International Council meeting this August. Amnesty joins a growing list of other major international agencies such as the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch and the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women in the call for decriminalisation of sex work.

You can download this 2 page statement below.

1st September 2015 by NSWP

In Charleston, West Virginia, a sex worker killed a man in self-defense, later to discover that he may have been a serial killer.

The 45-year-old man, named Neal Falls, arranged to meet the woman, identified only as Heather, through When he arrived at the woman's home, he was armed with a gun and allegedly asked ‘Live or die?’ when she opened the door then began choking her.

31st July 2015 by NSWP

In mid-July, a 20 year-old transgender sex worker was shot dead in Georgetown, Guyana, apparently following an altercation with a client, which, some reports say, may have been a case of mistaken identity.

27th July 2015 by NSWP

The online classified web site, long used by sex workers as a low-cost means of advertising their services and screening clients, has announced that it is allowing users to post ads for free to the adult services section of its site.

13th July 2015 by NSWP

In the aftermath of Canada’s new “end demand” style policy on sex work, migrant sex workers (including those with legal status) are being swept up in crackdowns and police sweeps, which they say are endangering them.

3rd July 2015 by NSWP