The Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee is a collective of 65000 female, male and transgender sex workers in West Bengal, India. Their most recent Bulletin (No 15.) includes news about discussions regarding a Universal Pension Scheme, a recent Film Festival hosted by DMSC celebrating 20 years of Sonagachi, and news of a joint DMSC / UCLA study on ART adherence.
Regional updates: Asia and the Pacific
Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.
Regional Board Members
Sherry Sherqueshaa (Project X), Singapore
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) is a sex worker-led network whose members include national sex worker-led networks, sex worker-led organisations and community-based sex work projects representing female, male and transgender sex workers. APNSW was founded in 1994 at the International AIDS Conference in Japan and is based in Bangkok, Thailand.
News articles from Asia and the Pacific region are listed below.
Check out Empower's video pitch for Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World.
Sachumi and her friends are sex workers in Thailand and leaders in Empower Foundation. They want to have the skills and resources to create their own production company to make their own films by sex workers, about sex workers! Visit www.5MinutestoChangetheWorld.org to find out more about how you can join them to help empower women and girls.
Empower have written an open letter to the Thai Prime Minister protesting against anti-trafficking raids and the appalling human rights abuses perpetrated against migrant sex workers by the state.
The background to this story can be read in much more detail in 'Hit & Run', Empower's recent research report. In particular the report contains a case study (Raid and Rescue 2 - Mae Sot, pages 79-85) in which 17 Burmese nationals were arrested as part of an 'anti-trafficking' raid in March 2011. The case study documents how the women were provided with poor interpreting, denied proper information about the reason for their detention and their rights, and how they have been held for over a year in a 'rescue' shelter as victims of trafficking and potential witnesses in a prosecution - despite their assertion that they were working in the entertainment venue voluntarily. The women were also subjected to mandatory and invasive medical examinations and tests and denied proper access to support and advice.
The full text of the Open Letter follows:
The Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee is a collective of 65000 female, male and transgender sex workers in West Bengal, India. Their most recent Bulletin (No 14.) includes news about the May Day rally in Kolkata where over 2000 sex workers and their children marched for the right to be recognised as workers.
On Monday 14th May hundreds of sex workers marched in Satara, India to protest against the violent attack on Anu Mokal, a pregnant sex worker in Satara, who was beaten up by police inspector Dayanand Dhome on April 2, along with her friend Ms. Anjana Ghadge. Three days later, on 5th April, she suffered a miscarriage.
You can now sign the petition online here to support their demands.
Sex workers will march in Satara, India on Monday the 14th of May to protest against the violent attack on Anu Mokal, a pregnant sex worker in Satara, who was beaten up by police inspector Dayanand Dhome on April 2, along with her friend Ms. Anjana Ghadge. Three days later, on 5th April, she suffered a miscarriage.
Sex workers in Zambia have been in the spotlight this week as both religious leaders and a non-governmental organisation weighed in to the debate on how the police deal with sex work in the country.
In response to the recent article in the Hindu where renowned feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem talked of an ‘epidemic of sex trafficking’, Professor Shohini Ghosh writes:
Chinese authorities hold periodic sweeps to detain sex workers, drug users, and other ‘social undesirables’ en masse in advance of national holidays and major government conferences.
Chinese sex workers says that police crackdowns don’t stop sex work – they only drive sex workers further underground, putting them at higher risk of violence and HIV/AIDS.