Regional updates: North America and the Caribbean

Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.

Regional Board Members

Shaunna-May Trotman (Guyana Sex Work Coalition), Guyana

Natasha Potvin (Peers Victoria Resources Society), Canada

NSWP Regional Network

The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC) is a regional network of organisations representing female, male and transgender sex workers. It was founded in 2011 and is based in Georgetown, Guyana.

News articles from North America and Caribbean region are listed below.

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The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC), a regional collective of sex worker-led civil society organisations and sex worker advocates, is calling on Caribbean states to end discrimination against sex workers, recognise transgender people and create laws to protect sex workers from stigma and discrimination.

2nd September 2013 by NSWP

Sex workers and sex worker rights advocates are speaking out with mounting concern in British Columbia, Canada, after two indoor sex workers were found dead in the same apartment block, two weeks apart. The women were called Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors.

28th August 2013 by NSWP


Contrary to popular misconception, sex work is legal in Canada; the act of exchanging sex for money is not a criminal offence. What is illegal are several activities fundamentally related to sex work, namely, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, (CC s. 213-1c); owning, operating, or occupying a "bawdy house" used for prostitution (CC s. 210); and procuring or living on the avails of prostitution (CC s. 212-1j). These three laws are currently being reconsidered in the Bedford v. Canada Supreme Court hearing, which took place on June 13th. 

The case began in Ontario in 2007, with three applicants: Terri-Jean Bedford, a dominatrix whose S&M dungeon was shut down in 1999 under the Bawdy House law; and two members of Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott. Together, they challenged the three sections of the Federal law on the grounds that these provisions violate sex workers' right to liberty and security of person, granted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 7. The Communication Law also violates sex workers' Charter right to freedom of expression, section 2b. 

2nd July 2013 by NSWP

On June 20, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 decision in Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. that the Policy Requirement of the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, from the U.S. Leadership Act of 2003, violates the First Amendment, and is therefore unconstitutional.
 
A partial victory for the sex worker movement, it unfortunately makes no stated distinction between sex work and human trafficking, and it is not a defence of sex worker rights. However, this ruling may decrease stigma around sex work, by allowing organisations in the United States that receive PEPFAR funding to publically adopt a neutral stance towards sex work, and focus on implementing best practices for public health aims. 

21st June 2013 by NSWP

San Francisco police will no longer use condoms as evidence when arresting and charging sex workers, according to an announcement by law enforcement agencies and the Human Rights Commission.

This announcement follows a six-month trial moratorium period in which condoms were not used as evidence in cases.

Read the full article in the San Francisco Examiner.
2nd May 2013 by NSWP

Press statement from Maggie's, Stella and POWER.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Le français suivra...

May 2, 2013 -- Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner has denied several prominent sex worker groups the opportunity to intervene in the Bedford v. Canada appeal, to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada on June 13th, 2013. 

The constitutional challenge to the prostitution laws could strike down laws that have documented direct and negative impact on the lives and working conditions of sex workers, bosses, security people and other third parties as well as the lives of sex workers’ clients and partners.

2nd May 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

An analysis of the implementation of PEPFAR’s anti-prostitution pledge and its implications for successful HIV prevention among organizations working with sex workers

Melissa Hope Ditmore & Dan Allman have written this analysis published in the Journal of the international AIDS Society

Abstract follows:

25th March 2013 by NSWP

Two important events in the USA in the coming months:

The 8th San Francisco Sex Workers Film and Arts Festival - 18th to 26th May 2013

Deadline for entries has been extended until 15th March 2013.

This festival provides a forum for the accomplishments of sex worker film and video makers and to screen works about sex workers and the sex industries from around the world.

See the Festival website for full details on submissions on their website.

5th National Desiree Alliance Conference (The Audacity of Health: Sex Work, Health, and Politics)
July 14th to 19th, 2013 - Las Vegas, Nevada

The 2013 Desiree Alliance conference will focus on all forms of health in our lives and in our communities. 

The deadline for proposals from presenters has been extended until 1st April 2013. Visit the Desiree Alliance website for applications and instructions. Registration information and details of the limited number of scholarships is available here.

Addtional information on both events also available at A Kiss for Gabriela.

7th March 2013 by NSWP

As reported last week colleagues in the US - BPPP, Desiree Alliance & SWOP-NYC / SWANK have made a written submission for inclusion in the annual TIP report.  The TIP report  is intended to illustrate how the United States and foreign governments comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons” that are prescribed by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

Their comprehensive written submission highlights how anti-trafficking policies have resulted in violence and discrimination against sex workers, the negative impact of 'end demand' approaches and how restrictions on funding (such as the 'Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath') hinder anti-trafficking intiatives by excluding sex worker rights projects.

You can read much more on the BPPP website here and read their full (11 page PDF) submission here.

7th March 2013 by NSWP