Kay Thi Win, coordinator of APNSW writes:
Sex work has a long history in the Asia Pacific region, pre-dating colonial occupations and laws, and thriving as a significant, if hidden, contributor to the economy. However, sex workers face many obstacles to realizing their human rights, including violence at the hands of police and clients. We encounter stigma in our families and neighborhoods, and discrimination in access to justice and healthcare - including for sexual and reproductive health and HIV treatment. Sex worker led organizations and networks, public health bodies, and the human rights community are increasingly aware of the imbalance of power that criminalization of sex work causes, including its impact on effective response to HIV. People working to end HIV/AIDS have long realized that condoms are not enough; we must address stigma and discrimination against marginalized and criminalized communities to end this epidemic.
APNSW welcomes the well-researched and evidence-based Amnesty International proposal that joins the chorus of calls to decriminalize sex work in order to give sex workers more control over their working situations. Decriminalization will help to normalize relations with police, and help realize sex workers’ rights to be free from violence and protected by the law.
Amnesty International Council is set to vote on the draft policy today. Nearly 10,000 people have now signed a petition set up in support of Amnesty.
You can download the full APNSW letter below.