Article in Interface: a journal for and about social movements, Volume 3(2): 271 – 287 (November 2011).
Despite the massive achievements of the Prostitutes Collective of Victoria and the historic significance of this important organisation, sex workers as a community and the funds we had attracted drew an unhealthy level of interest from the health and community sector, stemming from a perception that sex workers were politically unable to run their own collective, and that the funds we had lobbied for could be better spent by people who were not sex workers.
A report published today by the University of NSW says sex workers, especially in Lautoka, the centre of Fiji’s sugar industry, north of Nadi, have been rounded up by the military and subjected to sleep deprivation, humiliation and forced physical labour.
Karen McMillan, a researcher with the International HIV Research Group at UNSW, said the sex workers were held in outdoor pens at an army base, woken every three hours and made to do duck-walks and squat in the mud.
Removal of criminal law removes the main barrier to sex workers achieving justice. It creates a space that can be filled by effective rights based policy and labour regulations and law.
The Human Rights Reference Group challenges the Commission o go beyond existing statements [about decriminalisation] and to contribute to greater knowledge and action on how to break the impasse in human rights-based law reform, enforcement and access to justice related to HIV. It offers six recommendations of which this is the first.
On Monday August 2, 2010 police in Beijing detained Ye Haiyan, an activist with community based organisation the China Women’s Rights Workshop, after she joined other sex workers in publicly petitioning for the Chinese government to decriminalise prostitution.
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) have released a statement in which they explain how they stand in solidarity with Ye Haiyan, human rights defenders, and sex workers who speak up against stigma, discrimination, and the criminalisation of their livelihoods.
This is a very good article that presents a strong case that the criminalisation of clients in Sweden has not been successful in any terms. It contains fascinating statistics about the extent of trafficking in Sweden and illustrates the lack of integrity and rigour of claims that support ‘the Swedish Model’.
It also provides a compelling case for looking closely at the true consequences of measures aimed at limiting sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
Article in HIV AIDS Policy Law Rev. 2011 Oct;15(3):1, 5-14.
Some people want a world without prostitution and campaign for the criminalisation of our clients. I always argue that the criminalisation of our clients is not going to make us disappear but make our work more clandestine, more dangerous and potentially make us lose (part of) our income.
Widespread criminalization of sex work has had the effect of undermining the sexual health of sex workers, for instance by preventing them from accessing health care services for fear of criminal prosecution if found to be a sex worker. Moreover, laws permitting mandatory HIV or STI testing of sex workers and mandating disclosure of private health information to employers sanction direct interference in the private lives of sex workers. Extract from report
“The word illegal and legal makes a big difference.”
This article describes conditions under ‘decriminalised’ sex work in New Zealand. It illustrates that there are still many constraints on sex workers and that not all sex work is legal.
In Tauranga you are allowed to offer commercial sex services from your house, provided you are the only person operating there.There are five registered brothels, compared with four in 2003. It is illegal to solicit sex on the street. Brothels must only open in areas permitted under council by law and a certificate of compliance and an operator certificate, is needed. You have to be 18 to be a sex worker or use their services. Condoms are a requirement and sex workers are advised to take other precautions; when necessary. Sexual health check-ups are recommended for prostitutes every three months.