Sex workers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are hopeful that following the recent International AIDS Conference (IAC), held in July 2014, Melbourne, Australia, Papua New Guinea’s Health Minister, Honourable. Michael Malaba, will keep his public commitment to introduce legislation that decriminalises sex work and same sex relationships.
Regional updates: Asia and the Pacific
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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.
Photo: Li Jun, Pioneer of the Sex Workers’ Movement
NSWP joins the sex worker rights movement in mourning the passing of a pioneer in the Taiwanese sex worker rights movement. Below is a obituary honouring the life and work of Li Jun published by COSWAS.
The 12th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) is to be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2015. A boycott of this event is imminent due to eviction of 1000 sex workers and their families, totalling 2000 people, from a 200 year old brothel district in Bangladesh. Ironically the theme of the conference is women, and Key Affected Populations, which includes sex workers.
Across the globe, HIV rates are climbing among sex workers and people who use drugs. One of the main reasons is that they are criminalised. Too often sex workers and drug users are forced to choose between protecting their health and staying safe from police harassment or arrest.
In the lead up to the official opening of the 20th International AIDS Conference, currently being held in Melbourne, Australia, sex workers from 30 countries met on the 18th and 19th of July, 2014, to discuss issues of significance affecting our communities and to strategise the promotion and advocacy of these issues within various conference forums.
Leader of the Russian Sex workers' Movement "Silver Rose" has been elected the Chair of the Coordinating Committee on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in Russian Federation
NSWP stands in solidarity with sex workers the world over and mourn the deaths of 31 people in Baghdad, Iraq on 12 July 2014. Religious militia are suspected to behind the massacre in a brothel in the suburb of Zayouna which is known to be a red-light district in the capital city of Iraq. Among the dead, were 29 women and two men who were shot at close range in what can only be described as an execution of all those present in the brothel. The gunmen left a message on the front door warning people that ‘This is the fate of any prostitution’.
By Monday 14 July,2014, almost 1000 Bangladeshi sex workers from the Tangail Kandapara brothel district were evicted from their homes and work spaces as the demolition of the brothel complex, which spanned over 3 acres of land, was undertaken at the behest of an “anti-social activities committee” who threatened to set the complex on fire.
The inaugural RobertCarr Research Award has been given to a four-country research project that aims to increase security and safety for sex workers.
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) has published received funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the ‘Stepping Up, Stepping Out Project’ by Aids Fonds to support the development of advocacy tools around rights-based economic empowerment for sex workers. The first year of this three-year project was coordinated by the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), whose office is in Bangkok, Thailand.