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

27th June 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) have cautioned the local city council in Christchurch, New Zealand against taking the approach of introducing a new by law pushing sex workers out of their workspaces.

27th June 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

The building at the entrance to Melbourne University, Australia, will no longer bear the name of its condemned former head of anatomy, and Dean of Medicine, Richard Berry. Berry actively lobbied for the "sterilisation, segregation and the lethal chamber" of sex workers, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalised people who he claimed to be of "rotten heredity." The renaming of the building is the result of long-standing campaign by a group of staff and students.

27th June 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Karnataka Sex Workers Union held protests and spoke out about recent attempts to conduct invasive unethical research on sex workers, without proper community involvement. In a press release issued on 18 March, 2017 entitled “Sex Workers don’t need sympathy! Sex workers need workers rights!!” the Union spoke about the various ways the research report in question “violates research methodologies, research ethics and several national and international protocols/guidelines.”

8th May 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Over 95 sex workers held a rally for International Sex Worker Rights Day in Shahbagh, Bangladesh on 3 March. Police tried to prevent them from going ahead with the rally, so sex workers rallied without banners and planned a route that was unknown to the police.

17th April 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Sex workers in South Korea are fighting an eviction project supported by a local council. This project will push sex workers out of their work places. It has been reported that Cheongnyangni is now being targeted as part of a “long-term trend in which visible signs of vice are being scrubbed from the capitals streets ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a mountainous area a few hours northeast of Seoul.” Sex workers in various countries have often be targeted in so called ‘city clean ups’ by governments hosting Olympic Games.

17th April 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

In the wake of several human rights officials being denied entry to West Papua, The UN Special Rapporteur for Health, Dainius Puras’, officially visited West Papua last week. Human Rights Watch notes, “Indigenous sex workers in West Papua are being impacted by a HIV epidemic and lack of adequate healthcare amidst wider systematic denials of human rights and violence perpetrated by the Indonesian military and mining companies.”

24th February 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Hanteo National Union (HNU), a sex workers right’s orgnaisation in Korea told the Korea Times that sex workers plan to protest if the government pushes ahead with plans to shut down their workplaces.

16th February 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

VNExpress has reported that authorities in Hanoi, Vietnam are planning their ‘biggest crackdown ever’ for 2017. The city is aiming to meet a quota of 500 charges this year. They want to avoid repeat offenders being charged and provide financial assistance to help sex workers find new jobs.

16th February 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

There have been calls for systematic change, accountability and justice to be served following the death of a sex worker who was pursued in a crackdown in Daun Penh, Cambodia. Several international non-governmetal organisations (NGOs), including human rights organisations and advocacy groups for sex workers have demanded that the Cambodian government decriminalise sex work to protect the rights of sex workers.

24th January 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

San Fiji’s Sesenieli Naitala (Bui) has been recognised for her significant achievements and commitment to fighting for the rights of sex workers and other communities facing discrimination. She received a community activist award on International Human Rights Day in December 2016. As Shirley Tagi, the 'DIVA for Equality' Coordinator explained, "Sesenieli Naitala, also known by many as Bui, has been a human rights activist for LGBTI and sex worker rights in Fiji for decades.

17th January 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

One hundred and twenty-five migrants were arrested in raids on New Year's Eve in Indonesia. The raid on Sun City nightclub in West Jakarta saw 76 Chinese women arrested. An additional 49 migrants were also arrested during similar operations, with individuals coming from various countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Papua New Guinea, France and Italy.

16th January 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

Hundreds of sex workers were detained in raids conducted in three nightclubs in Beijing on 23 December 2016. Days later, on 25 December, Beijing police shared details of the raids on popular Chinese social media platform, Weibo. The police gave details of the location of the raids: Dongcheng in the east of Beijing and Haidan in the north west.

3rd January 2017 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

A recent announcement which has seen two highest value bank notes in India (Rs 500 and Rs 1000) demonetised has had wide reaching impacts on many communities. Demonesation means the bank notes are no longer legal to use.

22nd November 2016 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

The Philippine Sex Workers Collective is speaking out against human rights violations against sex workers and drug users. In a statement on their website published on 27 October, the collective explains how oppression against drug users is similar to oppression against sex workers and it is important to stand in solidarity with anyone whose rights are violated.

25th October 2016 | Region: Asia and the Pacific

On the 18 of October, COSWAS, sex workers and allies held a protest outside the Taipei City Government. Protesters asked for the decriminalisation of sex work, for an end to illegal entrapment practices targeting sex workers, and for the government to stop ignoring sex workers. They are asking for safe and legal places to work.