As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, sex workers are mostly being forgotten about in government responses. This week the Guardian published a report on the experiences of sex workers in New Zealand, outlining their access to emergency wage subsidies and other state benefits.
Regional updates: Asia and the Pacific
NSWP are conducting a survey to monitor and report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sex workers and sex worker organisations and their communities.
We are sharing the stories and experiences of organisations from around the world, as reported to us, in order to gain an insight into what governments are doing – and not doing – to support sex workers and sex worker organisations and how the sex worker community are responding to the crisis.
China has brought an end to the use of forced labour as punishment for those prosecuted under anti-sex work laws. Although sex work is still criminalised in the country, national media in China has reported that the detention system came to an end at the end of December 2019, and those in custody will be released.
Australia's Northern Territory Parliament has voted to decriminalise sex work through the Sex Industry Bill 2019. The Bill decriminalises brothels, soliciting and indoor sex work, and gives sex workers access to workplace health and safety protections already extended to other workers in the state.
Singapore's Parliament has voted to amend its Women's Charter, increasing penalties for sex work-related offences.
Sex workers in Australia have praised the Government for working with sex workers to introduce a new Bill to decriminalise sex work in the state.
Last week India’s Supreme Court ruled that sex workers have the right to refuse services, in a landmark case overturning a 2009 ruling in which 4 people were acquitted of rape.
A single mother has been sentenced to 6 months in prison and 6 strokes of the rotan after she was arrested for doing sex work in the Malaysian state of Terengganu.
NSWP congratulates Julie Bates on being awarded the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.