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

Regional Network

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.

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As part of the Dutch collaboration Stepping Up, Stepping Out 2 funded by Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NSWP has received funding to support the development of advocacy tools around rights-based economic empowerment for sex workers.  The first year of this three year project will focus on documenting the work done by sex worker led groups in Asia Pacific.   

NSWP is pleased to announce the appointment of Kaythi Win and Aly Murray as policy consultants to work with APNSW/NSWP members in developing economic empowerment advocacy tools that can be used at national, regional and global levels. They will work with and coordinate teams of local consultants to document good practice examples of rights-based economic empowerment projects by and for sex workers and write up a report on this including case studies.  The report will further highlight the damage done to sex workers by forced rehabilitation and exit programmes.

26th June 2013 by NSWP

Statement

US Supreme Court strikes down Anti-Prostitution pledge

Vindication for VAMP / SANGRAM

22 July 2013 Sangli, Maharashtra

In a victory for sex worker rights across the world, the United States Supreme Court on 20th June 2013, struck down as unconstitutional the legal requirement that organisations receiving US assistance for HIV programs must have an explicit policy opposing `prostitution’. Popularly known as the anti-prostitution pledge, the provision effectively denied financial support to sex work programming in HIV despite widespread scientific and UN consensus that such programming is essential for a successful HIV response.

22nd June 2013 by NSWP

NSWP has received short term funding from the Robert Carr Civil Society Network Fund (RCNF) to support our regional networks in identifying and documenting good practice in sex worker led HIV programming; sex workers access to treatment and the impact of free trade agreements; and the impact of HIV programming for sex workers that fails to reflect a rights based approach.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS:  Friday, 12 April 2013 @ 24.00.

26th March 2013 by NSWP

NSWP has received funding to support the development of advocacy tools around rights based economic empowerment for sex workers. The first year of this three year project will focus on documenting the work done by sex worker led groups in Asia Pacific, the final two years of the programme will focus on building capacity and documenting of sex worker led responses in Africa.  APNSW are seeking to recruit a policy consultant to work with APNSW/NSWP members in developing economic empowerment advocacy tools that can be used at national, regional and global levels. This project is part of the Dutch collaboration Stepping Up, Stepping Out 2 funded by Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 31 December 2015.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS:  Wednesday, 10 April 2013 @ 24.00.

26th March 2013 by NSWP

Adult consensual sex work not in ambit of Section 370: Activists Welcome Move

Delhi 23 March 2013:

Sex workers and Women’s rights activists across India welcome the Government’s move to drop the word `prostitution’ as exploitation from the amended Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code. The new formulation targets sexual exploitation and not adult consensual sex work.

25th March 2013 by NSWP

The National Network of Sex Workers in India have appealed to the President of India to reject the 'Ordinance on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012' which was cleared by the cabinet on 1st February. 

A proposed section in this bill conflates trafficking with sex work and essentially defines all 'prostitution' as exploitation, further eroding the dignity of voluntary and consenting sex workers, against the internationally recognised interpretation of the UN Protocol, 2000.  If accepted this bill will criminalise sex workers.

You can read the 2 page (PDF) press release (in English) as published on SANGRAM's website below.

You can read more coverage regarding the press release as reported in the Times of India and The Hindu.

4th February 2013 by NSWP

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 22.) includes recent news and a report of their AGM.

4th February 2013 by NSWP
  • Criminalisation of sex work increases vulnerability to HIV by fuelling stigma and discrimination, limits access to sexual health services and condoms.
  • Removing legal penalties for sex work allows HIV prevention and treatment programmes to reach sex workers and their clients more effectively.
  • There is no evidence that decriminalisation has increased sex work. 

These are some of the findings in an unprecedented study issued today by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

24th October 2012 by NSWP

India's Supreme Court (Apex Court) backed a decided not to exclude West Bengal-based NGO Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) and Usha Cooperative from a committee of senior lawyers, NGOs and Government officials, which is constituted in July last year, to suggest measures on sex workers dignity.

The court confirmed the need to get views from the concerned people about whom the committee is formed, after an objection was lodged by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare.  They had argued that as these organisations 'openly advocated for the rights of sex workers' that this would make their inclusion contrary to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.  This was rejected by the Supreme Court.

The delegates at the Sex Worker Freedom Festival welcomed the news.  NSWP President Andrew Hunter said, “The Supreme Court of India has reiterated that “right to live with dignity” is a Constitutional right. This would help our struggle worldwide to go a long way ahead.”

Read more on this story in The Sunday Indian.

23rd August 2012 by NSWP