Caribbean Sex Work Coalition Consults with OECS on How to Strengthen Networks in the Eastern Caribbean

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North America & Caribbean Regional Correspondent
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At a meeting in St. Lucia earlier this month, NSWP member group, the Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC) was invited by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS, which is made up of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to be part of a Regional Coordinating Mechanism. The mechanism was put in place to fulfill requirements of a donor agency to include sex workers in the consultation and management process.

At the meeting, representatives of CSWC highlighted issues that are faced by sex workers and recommended several interventions for sex worker-targeted activities in the areas of Human Rights and HIV. In that part of the Caribbean, CSWC told us, “there is no sex worker-led organisation and there is no resident NGO or government that does activities or programmes which are sex workers-focused.”

“Because of the geographical make-up and the costs attached, CSWC is only working in two of the several countries within the OECS region.

This experience has allowed CSWC to realise that there is great work that needs to be done with sex workers. This includes forming sex worker alliances/groups, training of sex workers in the field of Human Rights and HIV, other capacity building, strengthening of networks and advocacy for sex workers in that region. 

“At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that CSWC "should" take the leading role in any activity targeted for sex workers. 

“We are looking forward to other networks, including the NSWP, supporting the CSWC in the future as we aim to fill the gaps within that region.” 

Last year, CSWC participated in a meeting held in Guyana that brought together sex workers from across the Caribbean that focused on working to strengthen sex workers organisations, and set up organisations where there are none, with the aim of encouraging more structured advocacy.