News Archive: September 2012

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The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) exists to uphold the voice of sex workers globally and connect regional networks advocating for the rights of female, male, and transgender sex workers

NSWP condemns California's Proposition #35 on the basis that the legislation is based on a dangerous conflation of sex work and human trafficking, which fails to provide a workable approach/solution to stop forced labour and other abuse, but rather serves to heighten the criminalisation and marginalisation of sex workers and those associated with them (including their families). Proposition #35 is based on unfounded claims and a significant lack of evidence and exploits a public concern over human trafficking and slavery. The definitions that are employed by the drafters of the proposition are over-reaching and explode any distinction between sex work and human trafficking.

Posted 27 September 2012 by NSWP

Two countries in the United Kingdom  - Scotland and Northern Ireland - are currently consulting on proposals to introduce legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex.

In Scotland, Rhoda Grant MSP (Labour) has launched a public consultation on her proposal for her private members bill, 'Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill'.  The public consultation runs until 14th December.  You can download her consultation document on the Scottish Parliament's website here.  NSWP member organisation SCOT-PEP have been campaigning vigorously against the proposals and there will be updates on their website relating to the consultation as it progresses.

In Northern Ireland, Lord (Maurice) Morrow MLA (Democratic Unionist Party) has a consultation running until 18th October on his draft Human Trafficking & Exploitation (Further Provisions & Support for Victims) Bill which he has already drafted.  His Bill includes a range of measures aimed at tackling trafficking, but most disturbingly also includes the 'introduction of a new offence of paying for the sexual services of a prostitute'More information and the consultation paper can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly website here.

Posted 18 September 2012 by NSWP

Reports from Kenya are emerging of police blocking and barricading sex workers who were demonstrating today against the recent murders of colleagues and attending the burial of one sex worker.

The protesters had been granted a permit by the police to have a procession in the town of Thika today, and were then planning to continue to the funeral of their colleague.  The police however barricaded more than 300 sex workers at the mortuary.  John Mathenge said the police, some brandishing guns, had threatened demonstrators with tear gas. 

KEWSA, who organised the demonstration in Thika, later addressed the media and demanded police action to investigate the murders.  You can see the ASWA & KESWA press statement on the murders here.

Read more about today's demonstration in Identity Kenya.

Posted 18 September 2012 by NSWP

Robyn Few, the co-founder of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA, died  on Thursday 13th September from cancer.  Robyn had been living with the illness for several years but continued to fight for sex worker’s rights and was instrumental in inaugurating December 17th as International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Read some of the many tributes to Robyn on SheWired, SWOP USA and Lalibertinesalon.

Posted 18 September 2012 by NSWP

Georgina Perry, service manager at Open Doors, a sex worker outreach service in East London has written an extensive article reproduced on The Trafficking Research Project's blog outlining her experience of the Olympics. 

Georgina writes powerfully about the damage done by the draconian anti-trafficking measures taken by the authorities, how this led to mass raids, the closure of many brothels and the destruction of relationships between services and sex workers which took years to build up. 

In summarising Georgina says:

'I’d say that we are currently picking up the pieces, and that it is going to take us a long time to restore sex worker faith in institutional support. Where once the relationship between sex worker services and clients was good, it is now broken. We are now viewed with suspicion as ‘do-gooders or enforcers’. Where once sex workers may have felt it possible to report crimes against them to the police, there is now a dangerous and distrustful environment in London with crimes going unreported for fear of unwanted repercussions.'

'The brothel closures that were deemed so important to the success of anti-trafficking measures in London have little impact when most women trafficked for sexual exploitation are sold through closed community networks and never end up in the brothels where the majority of sex work is conducted. This information is readily available, and has been for some years, and yet, like all evidence surrounding this episode, was resolutely ignored because it did not fit the inherent anti-prostitution agenda.'

Read Georgina's full article here.

Posted 18 September 2012 by NSWP

A call to Stop the Arrests and end ongoing media harassment

Sex Workers Action Group (SWAG) Kingston (Ontario, Canada) have published an open letter to support the 9 sex workers who were arrested in Sault Ste Marie. 

A summary of the issues and the demands follows below.  For the full text of the open letter see here.

TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THE OPEN LETTER, PLEASE SIGN IN THE COMMENT SECTION ON THE SWAG WEBSITE, OR EMAIL sault.on.redumbrellacampaign@gmail.com

Posted 18 September 2012 by NSWP

Africa Sexworkers Alliance (ASWA) and Kenya Sexworkers Alliance (KESWA) condemn the killings of sex workers in Mombasa over the last 2 months. This is a violation of Human Rights and proves that sex workers lives and welfare is a great concern to the entire nation.

KESWA has been on the forefront fighting against the discrimination of sex work to avoid such forms of inhuman acts while preventing such occurrences in future. We urge the community, Police and fellow sex workers to help bring the culprits to book. Today it might be her, tomorrow you, me or your own brother or sister.

KESWA demands for quick action and justice, in this regard KESWA is going to hold a peaceful demonstration in Mombasa on Saturday starting at Magongo to Changamwe Police Station, “SEX WORKERS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS AND ONLY RIGHTS CAN STOP THE WRONGS”.

KESWA invites all sex workers and the community at large to join us to stop violence against sex workers who are also human beings. They are our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers! Who will protect us the sex workers? Who will listen to our cry?

John Mathenge                                                          Phelister Wamboi

Act. Regional Coordinator, ASWA                              KESWA Coordinator

Posted 7 September 2012 by NSWP