North America and the Caribbean

Behind the Rescue: How Anti-Trafficking Investigations and Policies Harm Migrant Sex Workers

Behind the Rescue: How Anti-Trafficking Investigations and Policies Harm Migrant Sex Workers is a report produced by Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network), featuring the testimony of 18 Asian migrant sex workers, who contacted Butterfly when they were arrested, detained, and/or deported between May 2015 and August 2016 in Canada.

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U.S.A. FOSTA/SESTA legislation

This NSWP Briefing Note provides information about the United States’ recent legislation - The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) -that criminalise online platforms used by sex workers for advertising and information sharing, including for safety purposes. The resource provides details on FOSTA/SESTA and the 'End Banking for Human Traffickers Act', which aims to ‘prevent financial transactions involving the proceeds of severe forms of trafficking'. 

U.S. San Francisco Bay Sex Worker Film and Arts Fest

The 19 May is the start of the bi-annual San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film and Arts Fest (SWFAF) taking place across San Francisco and Oakland, California. SWFAF was started in 1999 by Carol Leigh, also known as Scarlot Harlot. She is a film maker, archivist and activist who coined the term 'sex work' during a conference in 1979 or 1980 as an alternative to the phrase 'Sex Use Industry'. She wanted to place emphasis on the agency of the provider rather than the customer, and the term has become broadly used across the globe.     

CEDAW Shadow Report on Canada

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform and Pivot Legal submitted this shadow report to the 65th CEDAW session. This shadow report documents the human rights violations affecting Canadian sex workers since the passage of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which criminalises sex workers, clients, third parties, advertising websites, and made modifications to migration regulations. 

Canadian Sex Workers Convene for National Consultation on PrEP

In October 2016, Triple X and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DPLHS) collaborated to hold a convening in Toronto, Canada, bringing together 50 sex workers and health providers from all across the country to discuss concerns and share information regarding the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) - a once daily pill that is prescribed to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

United States' Anti-Trafficking Sting mocks Sex Workers while Backpage Lawsuit Heats Up

In March 2007, Polk County Police Department engaged in 'Operation March Madness' a sting resulting in the arrests of 104 people, including 38 sex workers, 51 clients and 14 for related charges. Polk county has a reputation for large scale stings to get media attention. In the same county Operation 'Trick or Treat' arrested 95 sex workers and clients on Christmas Eve 2015. It came under criticism for the targeted ridiculing of transgender people by the Sheriff by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Sex Workers Attend 61st Commission on the Status of Women meeting in NYC and hold Parallel Session on Sex Workers and Economic Empowerment

The sixty first session on the United Nations convening Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place in New York City in the United States of America from 13 - 24 March of 2017.

Adult Ads on Backpage.com Removed in the United States

On 9 January 2017, the popular advertising platform Backpage.com removed the adult section of its website in the United States. The closure placed thousands of American sex workers in crisis. They removed the adult section hours after The Senate Homeland Security Committee published a report from subpoenaed internal documents of Backpage.com.

11th Harm Reduction Conference in the United States

The 11th Harm Reduction Conference took place in San Diego, California from 3-6 November. It included workshops, talks, and panels with American sex work organisations such as HIPS, SWOP-USA and independent sex work activists like Emi Koyama, who works out of Portland and Seattle. Koyama is active in American sex work advocacy. She presents workshops and speaking on panels at conferences such as the Desiree Alliance and The Seattle Annual Sex Work Symposium hosted by SWOP Seattle.