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.
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The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) submitted the following response to the UN Women consultation on "sex work, sex trade, and prostitution." In their preamble, ICRSE criticizes UN Women's lack of meaningful consultation with sex workers in the development of their policy. They remind UN Women that the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), of which UN Women is a Co-Sponsor, already has developed a sex work policy that is founded in UN Human Rights treaties.
Public Association Amelia, the only organisation that provides services to sex workers, has published their report Documenting Human Rights Abuse in the Republic of Kazakhstan with financial support from SWAN. The report is about sex work, violence, and HIV in Kazakhstan. It describes the violence experienced by sex workers and how this increases the vulnerability of sex workers to STIs.
Feminism Needs Sex Workers, Sex Workers Need Feminism: Towards a Sex-Worker Inclusive Women's Rights Movement
ICRSE has published their second intersection briefing paper entitled Feminism Needs Sex Workers, Sex Workers Need Feminism: Towards a Sex-Worker Inclusive Women's Rights Movement. This briefing paper explores the intersection of feminist ideologies, women’s rights and sex workers’ rights, and the feminist ideals which are included and supported in sex work activism. It calls upon the feminist movement to consider the growing evidence in support of sex work decriminalisation, build an alliance with sex workers and their organisations, and actively support sex workers’ rights and the decriminalisation of sex work.
UTSOPI, a sex worker organisation in Brussels, have published a statement on increased legal oppression of sex work in various municipalities across the country. The statement below is about the Alhambra area of Brussels where the mayor, Yvan Mayeur, has increased the financial penalities against sex workers and clients.
STAR-STAR, a sex workers' collective in the Balkans, has published Voluntary Sex Work. They interviewed 73 sex workers in the city of Skopje. Their key research objectives were to understand sex workers' attitudes and perceptions towards voluntary sex work and the legalisation of sex work, to raise the general population's awareness about sex work, and finally, to present the advantages and disadvantages of sex work legalisation.
Police Abuse of Sex Workers: Data from Cases Reported to the Women's Legal Centre between 2011 and 2015
The Women's Legal Centre has published their report on Police Abuse of Sex Workers in South Africa. The Women's Legal Centre is an organisation working to ensure that women in South Afica can live free from violence in safe housing, are free to own property, are empowered to ensure their own reporductive health rights, and are able to work in a safe and equal environment. Their report shows that 414 sex workers reported various types of violence perpetrated by police between 2011 and 2015.
Reporting from the Shadows: Using CEDAW to Advocate for Sex Workers' Rights in Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia
The Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) has published their report Using CEDAW to Advocate for Sex Workers' Rights in Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This booklet is aimed at sex workers, sex worker groups, organisations working with sex workers, women’s groups, drug users’ groups, LGBT groups, human rights organisations and other allies who want to know more about advancing recognition for sex workers’ rights through the United Nations human rights bodies, and in particular, through the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
The National Empowerment Network for Persons Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK), the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA), the Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) and the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) have published their report Speaking Out: Personal Testimonies of Rights Violations Experienced by Sex Workers in Kenya. This report focuses on human rights violations among female sex workers living with HIV. It is based on a literature review and interviews conducted in May 2014 among 30 sex workers living with HIV in six counties: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Machakos, Kisumu, and Busia.
Amnesty International has published their research The Human Cost of 'Crushing the Market: Criminalization of Sex Work in Norway Executive Summary to accompany their Policy on State Obligatoins to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Their research demonstrates that human rights abuses against sex workers in Norway are directly related to the criminalisation of clients and third parties in Norway.
Amnesty International has published their research The Human Cost of 'Crushing the Market: Criminalization of Sex Work in Norway to accompany their Policy on State Obligatoins to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Their research demonstrates that human rights abuses against sex workers in Norway are directly related to the criminalisation of clients and third parties in Norway. Amnesty International also found tha sex workers themselves were penalised and criminalised under the "Nordic Model". The resaerch is the result of three weeks of interviews with 54 sex workers in Norway as well as desk research.
Ishtar Lakhani from SWEAT and Duduzile Dlamini from SISONKE provide an overview of the programming at Mothers for the Future in South Africa. Mothers for the Future is a sex worker-led organisation run by mothers who do sex work. They show how mothers resist oppression and make tangible differences in the lives of mothers. This article was published as a part of Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience.
In Kampala, Uganda, there is a large network of sex worker-led organisations that unite under the umbrella organisation Uganda Harmonized Rights Alliance (UHRA). Paula Pönkänen and Hanna Jörneus argue that sex work organising in Uganda is a great example of how sex workers develop and implement their own programming. They provide an overview of sex worker-led programming in Kampala.
This policy brief on the Decriminalisation of Sex Work in Kenya was written in collaborartion with the University of Amsterdam and NSWP member HOYMAS and KESWA. This policy brief argues that sex workers have the same rights as other citizens in Kenya as outlined in the Kenyan Constitution. The brief describes key instances in which the rights of sex workers as defined by the Constitution are violated in Kenya.
The ICRSE Community Report Exploitation: Unfair Labour Arrangements and Precarious Working Conditions in the Sex Industry discusses exploitation in the sex industry, while simultaneously challenging anti-sex work advocates' understanding of sex work as 'sexual exploitation'. Through case studies in Europe and Central Asia, it argues that both sex work, as a form of work and income-generating activity, and exploitation, as labour arrangements that enable one person to take unfair advantage of the work of another, belong to the realm of work and should be viewed and analysed through the lens of labour.
Kenyan sex workers continue to suffer human rights violations. Sex workers also bear a disproportionately large burden of HIV. This could be significantly reduced by a rights-based approach to their health needs. This research by GNP+ focuses on the human rights violations that female sex workers living with HIV face when they access healthcare services. It also highlights violations by law enforcement officers that impact on sex workers’ vulnerability to and ability to manage HIV.
This articles outlines the benefits and shortcomings of German sex work laws. It also describes the danges of forthcoming revisions to Germany's policies. This article was written by Hydra e.V. and pubished as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.
NSWP is calling on the Turkish government, Turkish police, and the Turkish justice system to take urgent action to uphold the human rights of male, female, and transgender sex workers. Sex workers have the same right to protection from the law and access to justice as other people. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect without discrimination. The occupation and gender identity of sex workers should never be used to deny access to justice, health services, or social services.
According to a 2015 survey by Transgender Europe entitled Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide Project, 79 percent of transgender sex workers interviewed in Turkey reported experiencing police harassment. According to the Project for the Mapping of Violence Against and Legal Support for Trans Sex Workers, one in every two sex workers has experienced violence, and 50 percent of this violence was perpetrated by the police.
Transgender sex workers in Turkey are particularly vulnerable to violence, including from the police. In May 2015, NSWP published an article about seven transgender women who were violently attacked in different cities across Turkey. Two days after these attacks, more than 100 people gathered in Ankara to protest about violence against transgender people in Turkey.
This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA). The SWAA is a ground-breaking learning programme for community empowerment and capacity building, led by and for sex workers. The Academy brings together national teams of sex workers from across Africa to develop organising skills, learn best practices, stimulate national sex worker movements, and strengthen the regional network.