In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total from 55 different countries, out of which 18 responses were from 11 countries – Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam – in the Asia and the Pacific region
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National Case Study: Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited – Economic Empowerment for Sex Workers
Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (USHA) is the largest and the first ever sex worker-led financial institution in South Asia, exclusively run by and for sex workers. Steered by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a sex worker collective in West Bengal, India, USHA provides economic empowerment to sex workers by offering them loans at low interest rates, encouraging short and long-term savings and supporting self-employment schemes.
As part of its programme 'Rights not Rescue: Sex Work, Migration, Exploitation and Trafficking', ICRSE has published 'Trafficking 101: a community resource for sex workers' rights activists'.
RAIDED: How Anti-Trafficking Strategies Increase Sex Workers' Vulnerability to Exploitative Practices
RAIDED was developed to forefront the experiences of women in sex work who have been raided, rescued and rehabilitated under the provision of anti-trafficking initiatives in India. It examines women’s narratives along with quantitative data about the strategies of raid, rescue and rehabilitation deployed to combat trafficking of women into sex work. The study unravels the impact of laws and policies on the lives of sex workers.
Society for Women Awareness Nepal (SWAN) submitted this shadow report during the 71st CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2018. The report elaborates on the situation of cisgender and transgender women who are sex workers in Nepal. It focuses on the social justice and health issues that sex workers in Nepal face.
The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, with support from NSWP, submitted this shadow report to the 70th CEDAW Session, which took place June-July 2017. The report elaborates on the situation of women who are sex workers in New Zealand. It documents the way their situation has been advanced under the New Zealand Model of decriminalisation. The report also highlights disparities that still exist between non-migrant sex workers and migrant sex workers.
Empower Foundation has released a new resource library on their website, comprising books, reports, letters and films on a variety of topics linked to sex workers' rights in Thailand. You can access the full set of resources here (most available in English and Thai).
Project X, Singapore, with support from NSWP, submitted this shadow report to the 68th CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2017. The report focuses on the various human rights abuses and discrimination. In particular, it focuses on the ambiguous legal framework governing sex work in Singapore and the impact it has on women’s lives.
This pamphlet by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective offers information to sex workers who have experienced sexual assault, as well as advice for how others can be supportive. The guide includes ideas for emotional and physical self-care, people to contact for support, and considerations if the assault occurred in a brothel environment.
This report by Empower Foundation Thailand describes the organisation’s experience submitting a shadow report to and attending the CEDAW committee’s 67th session in Summer, 2017. The report includes detailed information on all stages of Empower’s engagement with CEDAW, including their goals for engagement, drafting their report, and participating in formal and informal CEDAW sessions in Geneva.
Empower Foundation Thailand submitted this shadow report to the 67th CEDAW session, which took place in July 2017. The report focuses on raids against entertainment industry establishments, which are perpetuated by the conflation of sex work and trafficking. The report details entrapment and police violence during raids, as well as lack of access to a fair trial, labour protections, and health for Thai sex workers. A detailed report on their experiences engaging with the CEDAW committee is also available here.
NSWP members SANGRAM and VAMP, along with CASAM and women’s rights organisation MASUM submitted this shadow report on the status of sex workers in India to the 58th CEDAW Committee in July 2014. The report highlights the violence and rights violations experienced by sex workers and includes testimonies from sex workers across India.
The Sex Workers Network (SWN), Bangladesh & Sex Workers and Allies in South Asia (SWASA), Bangladesh Chapter submitted this shadow report to to the 65th CEDAW Session, which took place in November 2016.
National Network of Sex Workers Statement Challenging the ‘Last Girl First’: Second World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls
The following is a statement from the National Network of Sex Workers challenging the ‘Last Girl First’: Second World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls (January 29-31, 2017, New Delhi, India) organised by the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International (CAP Intl).
The South Asia Sex Workers Network (Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) have submitted this joint response to the UN Women Consultation on "sex work, sex trade, and prostitution." They produced a film featuring sex workers voices towards an inclusive policy on sex work, and based their response on their consultation with sex workers. The consultation was attended by participants from four South Asian countries respresenting four national level networks, five state level networks, 55 community-led organisations, and 25 supporting organisations.
The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN) have submitted the following response to the UN Women consultation on "sex work, sex trade, and prostitution." They voice concerns regarding the limited possibility for sex workers to take part in an internet-based consultation. Many sex worker groups have limited or no access to internet and are not familiar with the language used in the consultation.
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) submitted the following letter to UN Women outlining their concerns about the lack of meaningful consultation with sex workers as they develop their policy on sex work. According to APNSW Management Team and Secretariat, UN Women have not held any major consultations with sex workers in the Asia Pacific region. They urge UN Women to organise a meaningful consultation with sex workers to ensure the policy is informed by the experiences of sex workers in the region. In addition to this letter, APNSW submitted a response to the UN Women online consultation on "sex work, sex trade, and prostitution".
The All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW), CREA, the Centre for Advocacy and Research, India and Lawyers Collective, and 43 sex worker-led organisations have jointly submitted this response to the UN Women consultation on sex work. They conducted three regional consultations with sex worker groups to come to consensus on principles which must be included in any policy on sex work. The participants of the consultations are calling on UN Women to ensure that the development of any policy be made through meaningful and inclusive consultation with sex workers.
Midnight Blue has published their report Cases of Arrested Transgender Sex Workers which documents the human rights abuses faced by transgender sex workers in detention. Up until June 2016, Midnight Blue has monitoried the cases of 40 transgender sex workers who were arrested in Hong Kong. Many transgender sex workers in Hong Kong are migrant sex workers, and after their detention is complete they are often deported. Midnight Blue is demanding the criminal justice system review the human rights abuses against transgender sex workers in detention in Hong Kong.
Asia Catalyst has published their report The Condom Quandary: A Study of the Impact of Law Enforcement Practices on Effective HIV Prevention among Male, Female, and Transgender Sex Workers in China. Asia Catalyst conducted 74 in-depth interviews with male, female, and transgender sex workers, 18 interviews with key informants, and 517 responses to a survey questionnaire. The research was conducted in three major Chinese cities. The report found that using condoms as evidence of sex work violates the human rights of sex workers.