News Archive: July 2012

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This joint session featuring speakers from both Kolkata and Washington looked at the legal, policy, labour and public health rationale for creating an enabling environment in which sex work is integrated into communities as simply another occupation.

The keynote speaker was Naomi Akers from St James Infirmary.

Posted 30 July 2012 by NSWP

Watch Cheryl Overs' speech: 'The Tide Cannot Be Turned Without Us:  HIV Epidemics Amongst Key Affected Populations' given during the Plenary: 'Dynamics of the Epidemic in Context' at the IAC in Washington DC (from 20 minutes into the video above.)

You can also download the full transcript of the Plenary, or the MP3 audio file from the Global Health / KFF website.

Posted 30 July 2012 by NSWP

Elly Katabira, president of the International AIDS Society, has reportedly said that the exclusion of sex workers and drug users from the Washington DC conference was not an issue as they are “criminals.”

Responding Andrew Hunter, NSWP President said her comments were shocking.

“This International Conference (in Washington) we believe has been a huge missed opportunity with key affected populations such as sex workers missing from the conversation on how we can work together to end AIDS.”

Ruth Morgan Thomas, NSWP Global Coordinator also said: “We need to shout very loudly at Washington; at the President of the International AIDS Society.”

Read more in this story in The Hindu.

Posted 30 July 2012 by NSWP

The Sex Worker Freedom Festival urged the Indian government not to bow to pressure from the EU and US on Free Trade Agreements and to continue to produce generic anti-HIV drugs that are affordable for poorer nations.

Andrew Hunter, NSWP President said, “If we want to live in a world that is fair we cannot allow rich governments and corporations to hijack the global health system. We need to keep India as the pharmacy of the world. We need India to stand up to the EU and the US and keep us alive.”

Posted 30 July 2012 by NSWP

http://www.youtube.com/embed/O0yG8A37Crg

Watch Meena Seshu and Annah Pickering speaking from the Sex Worker Freedom Festival in Kolkata on 'Democracy Now'.

A full transcript will be on there website soon here. This is how they reported the conference:

Posted 25 July 2012 by NSWP

In 2011, sex workers participated in a global review of HIV policy through the UN sponsored Global Commission on HIV and the Law. Regional dialogues took place around the world, and sex workers rights groups advocated for reform of polices to improve HIV prevention and treatment for sex workers. In sex workers' statements from around the world, similar concerns were echoed, including funding restrictions that impede prevention for sex workers; the criminalisation of sex work and the dangerous public health situations it creates, such as reduced use of condoms and increased violence; the use of other discriminatory laws to repress and punish sex workers; the exclusion of migrant sex workers; and the increased targeting of clients of sex workers. This IAC Washington Symposium included panelists from the international sex workers rights movement, presenting policy reform recommendations to improve HIV prevention and treatment for sex workers.

Posted 24 July 2012 by NSWP

(Skip to 10 minutes 20 seconds into the video)

The Sex Worker Freedom Festival featured in the headlines on the bulletin on Democracy Now.  They coverage featured both a story about US sex workers being targeted and having condoms confiscated as well as news about the SWFF conference.

Andrew Hunter, NSWP President stated:

"[The U.S.] are the largest funder for HIV services and providing anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines to people with HIV, yet they are completely hypocritical when it comes to the involvement of sex workers in — not only in the International AIDS Conference, but the role of sex workers in controlling the HIV epidemic globally. So, we are not allowed to go to their conference, but we’re also not allowed to get their money for HIV prevention programming."

Posted 23 July 2012 by NSWP

Kolkata, 19 July 2012: With over 550 representatives of Sex Workers Collectives from across the world arriving for the first-ever Global Hub of the International AIDS Conference hosted and co-hosted by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, Global Network of Sex Workers (NWSP) and All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW) respectively, “the time has come to deliberate the many violations and privations the sex workers community is facing in different parts of the world” stated Dr Jana, the chair. “This Conference which has been, for the last 25 years, a three-way dialogue between the scientists/planners, the people living with HIV and the most at risk communities has been thwarted for the first time by the U.S. Government,” he added.

Posted 19 July 2012 by NSWP

Three new publications relating to sex work have been released by the Open Society Foundations.

Laws and Policies Affecting Sex Work

This reference brief aims to clarify terms and illustrate examples of alternatives to the use of criminal law as a response to sex work. Laws and policies on sex work should be based on the best available evidence about what works to protect health and rights. They should optimise sex workers' ability to realise the right to due process under the law, the right to privacy, the right to form associations, the right to be free of discrimination, abuse, and violence, and the right to work and to just and favourable conditions of work.

Ten Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work

This document provides ten reasons why decriminalising sex work is the best policy for promoting health and human rights for sex workers, their families, and communities. Removing criminal prosecution of sex work goes hand-in-hand with recognising sex work as work and protecting the rights of sex workers through workplace health and safety standards. Decriminalising sex work means sex workers are more likely to live without stigma, social exclusion, and fear of violence.

Criminalizing Condoms

How Policing Practices Put Sex Workers and HIV Services at Risk in Kenya, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

Posted 19 July 2012 by NSWP

From Rightswork.org

Read the review of Prabha Kotiswaran’s “Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India” By Chaitanya Lakkimsetti at Rightswork.org.  This new book dispels this myth of sex workers as predominantly trafficked and as quintessential victims of violence.

Posted 19 July 2012 by NSWP

NSWP welcomes the launch of the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and its recommendations regarding the decriminalisation of sex work, including sex workers, our clients, our families, and our businesses and managers. 

The recommendations are explicit in their opposition to the criminalisation of commercial sex. The recommendations are also clear in calling for countries to repeal laws prohibiting activities associated with sex work including, brothel keeping. States are told to take all measures to stop police violence and harassment, and to prevent other human rights abuses such as mandatory HIV and STI testing.

Posted 9 July 2012 by NSWP

An article from Cheryl Overs, Senior Research Fellow at the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights in Australia and a member of the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

The Global Commission on HIV and the Law Recommends Removal of Laws Against Adult Sex Industries.   

The report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, released today,  (http://hivlawcommission.org) recommends the repeal laws that prohibit consenting adults from buying or selling sex, including those laws that have the effect of prohibiting commercial sex such as laws against “immoral” earnings, “living off the earnings” of prostitution and brothel-keeping.

Posted 9 July 2012 by NSWP

French sex workers and allies, including Act Up and STRASS have demonstrated in both Lyon and Paris this weekend against French minister for women's rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem's plans for the 'elimination of prostitution' and call for measures to be introduced to criminalise clients.

Posted 8 July 2012 by NSWP

The Sex Worker Freedom Festival being held in Kolkata (22-27 July) will include participants from all over the world and will have video linking between Kolkata and the IAC Conference in Washington sessions and the Global Village.

"We are holding a 'global hub' in India because sex workers are not allowed entry to the United States by US government. The event will allow us to participate and give sex workers a chance to give inputs into important discussions being held in Washington," said Andrew Hunter, representative of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers and President of NSWP.

"Sex workers have an important role to play in community responses to HIV and we will make our voices heard loud and clear from Kolkata ."

You can read more and download the outline programme for the event on our IAC Kolkata pages here.

You can also watch a short 'welcome' video from DMSC here.

See more media coverage of the event, including NY Daily News and Business Standard.

Posted 8 July 2012 by NSWP

Pro Sentret, the sex workers rights organisation based in Oslo, Norway have published a report outlining the deteriorating conditions and increasing violence against sex workers in the Norwegian capital. 

Posted 8 July 2012 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 15.) includes news about discussions regarding a Universal Pension Scheme, a recent Film Festival hosted by DMSC celebrating 20 years of Sonagachi, and news of a joint DMSC / UCLA study on ART adherence.

Posted 8 July 2012 by NSWP

Call for papers: HIV and Sex Work

Research for Sex Work is seeking contributions for its next issue: HIV and Sex Work. This international journal provides a platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences and research results on the subject of sex work in a framework of health and human rights.

Posted 4 July 2012 by NSWP