Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.

Regional Board Members

Shaunna-May Trotman (Guyana Sex Work Coalition), Guyana

Natasha Potvin (Peers Victoria Resources Society), Canada

NSWP Regional Network

The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC) is a regional network of organisations representing female, male and transgender sex workers. It was founded in 2011 and is based in Georgetown, Guyana.

News articles from North America and Caribbean region are listed below.

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Contrary to popular misconception, sex work is legal in Canada; the act of exchanging sex for money is not a criminal offence. What is illegal are several activities fundamentally related to sex work, namely, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, (CC s. 213-1c); owning, operating, or occupying a "bawdy house" used for prostitution (CC s. 210); and procuring or living on the avails of prostitution (CC s. 212-1j). These three laws are currently being reconsidered in the Bedford v. Canada Supreme Court hearing, which took place on June 13th. 

The case began in Ontario in 2007, with three applicants: Terri-Jean Bedford, a dominatrix whose S&M dungeon was shut down in 1999 under the Bawdy House law; and two members of Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott. Together, they challenged the three sections of the Federal law on the grounds that these provisions violate sex workers' right to liberty and security of person, granted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 7. The Communication Law also violates sex workers' Charter right to freedom of expression, section 2b. 

2nd July 2013 by NSWP

On June 20, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. that the Policy Requirement of the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, from the U.S. Leadership Act of 2003, violates the First Amendment, and is therefore unconstitutional.
 
A partial victory for the sex worker movement, it unfortunately makes no stated distinction between sex work and human trafficking, and it is not a defence of sex worker rights. However, this ruling may decrease stigma around sex work, by allowing organisations in the United States that receive PEPFAR funding to publically adopt a neutral stance towards sex work, and focus on implementing best practices for public health aims. 

21st June 2013 by NSWP

San Francisco police will no longer use condoms as evidence when arresting and charging sex workers, according to an announcement by law enforcement agencies and the Human Rights Commission.

This announcement follows a six-month trial moratorium period in which condoms were not used as evidence in cases.

Read the full article in the San Francisco Examiner.
2nd May 2013 by NSWP

An analysis of the implementation of PEPFAR’s anti-prostitution pledge and its implications for successful HIV prevention among organizations working with sex workers

Melissa Hope Ditmore & Dan Allman have written this analysis published in the Journal of the international AIDS Society

Abstract follows:

25th March 2013 by NSWP

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) exists to uphold the voice of sex workers globally and connect regional networks advocating for the rights of female, male, and transgender sex workers

NSWP condemns California's Proposition #35 on the basis that the legislation is based on a dangerous conflation of sex work and human trafficking, which fails to provide a workable approach/solution to stop forced labour and other abuse, but rather serves to heighten the criminalisation and marginalisation of sex workers and those associated with them (including their families). Proposition #35 is based on unfounded claims and a significant lack of evidence and exploits a public concern over human trafficking and slavery. The definitions that are employed by the drafters of the proposition are over-reaching and explode any distinction between sex work and human trafficking.

27th September 2012 by NSWP

Robyn Few, the co-founder of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA, died  on Thursday 13th September from cancer.  Robyn had been living with the illness for several years but continued to fight for sex worker’s rights and was instrumental in inaugurating December 17th as International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Read some of the many tributes to Robyn on SheWired, SWOP USA and Lalibertinesalon.

18th September 2012 by NSWP

A call to Stop the Arrests and end ongoing media harassment

Sex Workers Action Group (SWAG) Kingston (Ontario, Canada) have published an open letter to support the 9 sex workers who were arrested in Sault Ste Marie. 

A summary of the issues and the demands follows below.  For the full text of the open letter see here.

TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THE OPEN LETTER, PLEASE SIGN IN THE COMMENT SECTION ON THE SWAG WEBSITE, OR EMAIL sault.on.redumbrellacampaign@gmail.com

18th September 2012 by NSWP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee, has recommended Truvada for approval for prescription as HIV prevention for those most at risk of infection.  

12th May 2012 by NSWP

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health highlights the ‘role of safer indoor sex work environments as venues for public health and violence prevention’ and indicates the importance of removing legal barriers to supportive housing programmes.

As reported in the Vancouver Sun indoor sex workers benefit from safer working environments, less exposure to violence and reduced exposure to HIV. 

12th May 2012 by NSWP

Carol Leigh, director of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network, explains why sex workers deserve legal rights in this article in the New York Times.

21st April 2012 by NSWP