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.

Regional updates

9th May 2018 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

New Zealand must repeal its ban on migrant sex workers to ensure the benefits of its decriminalisation model are extended to all sex workers, says NSWP member organisation the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective

21st February 2018 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Following the arrest of 99 migrant sex workers in “one of Hong Kong’s biggest anti vice crackdowns”, NSWP member Zi Teng has called attention to the need to protect the rights and safety of sex workers through decriminalisation and recognition of sex work as work.

15th February 2018 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

After several years of intensified focus on gathering biometric data and piloting targeted surveillance methods, the Chinese government has established a large police force with the technology to enable a mass detention of sex workers, drug users and Uyghur people, a Muslim ethnic

14th February 2018 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Sex workers and sex worker rights’ organisations have strongly criticised the verdict and handling of the case of CJ Palmer, a trans woman and former sex worker who was convinced of grievous bodily harm in January 2018. CJ was convicted on the charge, after four hours of deliberation, in relation to her ex-partner testing positive for HIV, and has been remanded in a men’s prison awaiting sentencing on 16th February. She has already spent 9 months in the same men’s prison awaiting trial.

8th January 2018 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

December saw another raid on a sex workers’ workplace in Tel Aviv, with 11 people arrested on charges of running a ‘prostitution ring'. The raids targeted a number of workplaces around the city’s old central bus station.

20th December 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

A police spokesman from Oman has told media that the country is considering a reduction to the number of days women from South East Asian countries may be allowed to remain in the country on a tourist visa. Currently visas are available for 30 days, but a new proposal may see this slashed to only ten days for some tourists. This comes with a host of new extreme requirements that women would need to have proof of a return ticket and of a booking at a minimum four-star hotel during their stay in Oman. It is believed this reduction is linked to a recent crackdown on sex workers. 

18th December 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Zi Teng, a sex worker-led organisation in Hong Kong, has marked International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, which falls each year on 17th December.  

23rd November 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

A man has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after a Singaporean court found that he paid a migrant sex worker using counterfeit notes that he made himself at home. In October 2017, Daniel Wong was convicted on two charges of counterfeiting and using the home-printed S$100 counterfeit notes. He was handed a 3-year sentence, though each charge was punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.

19th October 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

A spa and sauna house used by gay men in Jakarta has become the latest target of an ongoing police crackdown against sex workers and the LGBT community in Indonesia. On 6 October 2017, 51 men were arrested and detained, with media reporting that some could face up to six years in prison under pornography and sex work laws.

13th October 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Agape International Missions (AIM), a US-based charity that operates brothel raids and ‘rehabilitation’ programmes in Cambodia, was almost forced to leave Cambodia and cease operations this summer, after a CNN news report on trafficking that featured AIM angered Cambodian citizens and high-level government officials, including the Prime Minister.

The news report, “Life after trafficking: The Cambodian girls sold for sex by their mothers,” originally released on 22 July 2017, quickly drew criticism from the public and Cambodian government for misrepresenting the problem of trafficking in Cambodia, and defaming Cambodian women and mothers in general to raise funds.

28th August 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

A Swedish NGO, Love and Hope (formerly LoveNepal) in Nepal collected donations from Swedish people based on false claims of “saving children from brothels” and posting photographs on social media of three girls they claimed to be sex workers.

14th August 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Twelve sex workers escaped from Ujjwala House in Hyderabad India, where they had been detained for months following a raid on their workplaces. Thirty-two women are housed in the so called shelter, which claims to "rehabilitate" and "rescue" sex workers.

10th August 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

In November 2017, the National Party Congress for the Chinese Communist Party may put pressure on the Chinese President, Xi Jinping to shutdown popular media platforms. While the current President is predicted to be re-elected for another five-year term, the crackdown on content on social media, as well as internet users ability to hide their identity from the government through VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections is in line with previous approaches and responses taken by his government.

3rd August 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Spokespeople from the Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society, a cooperative bank run by sex workers in India, have told media how the introduction of an 18 percent GST (Goods and Services Tax) on sanitary napkins in India will negatively impact their community.

27th June 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

NSWP member organisation Project X have urged people to “scrutinise and seriously question the visual representation of sex workers in Singaporean mainstream media.” The call comes following several high profile raids on sex workers' workplaces in recent months, and subsequent stigmatising media coverage of the events. In a post on their Facebook page, Project X describe the media coverage as a “method of shaming” which “not only dehumanises the women in question, it also turns the matter into a one-sided conversation in which sex workers are ridiculed, talked about and talked at.”