In the UK, a new programme has begun offering sex workers retraining for different forms of employment. Run by the HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, the Sex Workers and New Ambitions Project (SNAP) offers “support and training to achieve your employment goals alongside or outside of sex working”. Participants receive one-to-one mentoring, professional skills coaching, CV and job search advice and, if they want, support into volunteering and work experience.
Regional updates: Europe
From 1st June, 2015 a new law in Northern Ireland criminalising the purchase of sex will come into effect. This will make Northern Ireland the only region of the United Kingdom to adopt the Nordic model, after a similar bill failed to pass in Scotland in 2013.
Turkish advocates have been calling for recognition of a spate of violence against trans women in the country. Over the space of two weeks, seven trans women were violently attacked in different cities around Turkey. On the 2nd of May four trans women were reported to have been attacked, including a trans sex worker named Gülşen who was stabbed in her home in Şişli by two men with a knife and skewer. Reports say that the men were known to her as previous clients.
Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project (TMM) has just published a report in advance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), which will be marked on the 17th of May 2015. The report details a total of 1,731 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people from January 1st 2008 to December 31st 2014 in all regions of the world. Analysis of the data shows that 65 percent of all murdered trans and gender-diverse people (whose profession was known) were sex workers.
Earlier this month, there was news from Spain’s Catalonia region that, prior to the municipal elections that will take place in late May and the regional elections in September, a new group had been established to lobby candidates on behalf of sex workers.
In yet another conflation of sex work and human trafficking, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan will no longer allow licensed strip clubs because of concerns about “human trafficking and sexual exploitation.”
The Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall announced last month that his government would reverse its decision to allow licensed strip clubs because of concerns about human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
A report for Edinburgh council’s health and social care committee has found that the city’s sex workers are facing increased health risks following a police crackdown on saunas.
In late March, the Spanish parliament passed a controversial “gagging law,” (known as “ley mordaza”) which includes provisions that rights groups say infringe on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
In Spain, Catalonia is preparing for municipal elections in late May and regional elections in September. With that in mind, a new group has been established to lobby candidates on behalf of sex workers.
The Assembly of Sex Work Pro-rights Activists of Catalonia, is made up of sex workers and allies and is backed by the leftwing party CUP, and Barcelona en Comú, a coalition of parties and civic associations putting forward its own candidate for mayor in Barcelona’s municipal elections.
PROUD, a sex workers association is organising a large demonstration of sex workers to protest against the continuing closure of window brothels in Amsterdam on Thursday April 9th. Amsterdam city council will be debating the controversial project 1012 that evening. PROUD, who represents sex workers in the Netherlands, will deliver a list of grievances and demands to the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.