PATTAYA, Thailand, 15 October 2010 – At the first-ever Asia-Pacific consultation on HIV and sex work, sex workers, government officials and United Nations participants emphasized the need for urgent action to increase focus and positioning of sex work within HIV responses in the region.
Close to 150 delegates from eight countries (China, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand) met in Pattaya, Thailand, to form partnerships and review policies and laws that keep sex workers from accessing HIV services and sexual and reproductive health services.
“Sex work interventions must be central to scaling up the HIV response, and listening to sex workers is crucial,” said Jan Beagle, Deputy-Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) who spoke at the consultation. “Sex workers experience firsthand the effects of laws and harmful enforcement practices that violate their human rights and hamper progress on HIV,” he said.
Delegates from the African Sex Worker Alliance (ASWA) and a church leader from Nigeria gathered in Pretoria from the 28th September to 10th October for a second historic meeting as a follow up to the first ever African sex worker lead conference in February 2009.
On the Occasion of the Inaugural Meeting of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
First of all, a very warm welcome from me to all Commissioners who have been able to attend this inaugural meeting of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.
I would like to express my gratitude to President Fernando Henrique Cardoso for hosting the meeting at his institute in Brazil – a nation which has long been a leader in the global AIDS response.
After reviewing the case of a woman who was fired from an establishment providing sexual services because she was pregnant, the court upheld the rights of sex workers to work, equality, security, and maternal leave.
The establishment where she worked must now pay her 12 weeks of maternity leave. While there was no formal written contract, there was an informal “employment contract” which was broken off suddenly. However, the court did not demand that she be able to return to work, because while the work is legal, it is contrary to the liberal principles of the law.
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.
It is an exciting time for sex work policy. Governments, UN agencies and key civil society institutions are beginning to focus on reforming laws and policies that can reduce abuses of sex workers and enable HIV prevention and care programmes to develop and work effectively.
On International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers the PLRI are circulating a media release to launch their new website and stress the need for evidence based policy making to tackle violence and abuse.
The Paulo Longo Research Initiative is a collaboration of researchers, policy analysts and sex workers working within the sex workers rights movement to improve the human rights, health and well being of sex. workers. Led by independent sex workers, and named after sex worker activist Paulo Henrique Longo, PLRI is committed to developing, consolidating and disseminating
An article in the Journal of Law and Society, Volume 37, Number 1, March 2010.
Weitzer explores the growth of what he describes as a moral crusade in the US aimed at expanding the criminalisation of sex work. He shows how there is a growing trend to conflate sex work with human trafficking and explores the impact of this movement on legal norms and government policies. Weitzer believes this trend has been prompted by the expansion of the sex industry and its normalisation in American society.
6 new frameworks have been published in 2011. Stand by for even more ‘definitions’ of decriminalisation and legalisation.