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2011 Report of UNAIDS Advisory Group on Sex Work – GREAT NEWS

                             Editorial

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The Report of the UNAIDS Advisory Group on Sex Work has been revised. PLRI reported that,  ‘The report contains some very good material as well as evidence of the compromises sex workers rights advocates must accept if they to reach consensus with UN and government agencies.’  Among other things, the report endorsed  human rights abuses in several countries including forced medical procedures (which is forbidden under the Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) and confinement under curfew in brothels (Nevada).

After my letter to the sex workers on the NSWP list these unacceptable aspects of the report were removed and replaced with sections compatable with the UN committment to human rights for which great credit must go to Jenny Butler the chairperson of the group and presumably other UN staffers.

The question of how such a recommendation found its way in to the report, which cost several hundreds of thousand of dollars, remains unanswered. Certainly many sex workers were present at meetings of this group in Paris and Geneva. At the very least this suggests that our presence is not enough. It also suggests that the process and remit of the UNAIDS Advisory group is not fit for its expressed purpose of incorporating sex workers. This is a sign that its a good time to go back and start again on  meaningful involvement in the context of the sex worker/UN partership.

To do that it might be worth reviewing the process by which the sex workers rights movement, acting in solidarity, had the 2007 UN Guidance Note that was grounded in abolitionism struck down.  Aziza Ahmed’s excellent article Feminism Power and Sex Work in the Context of HIV Aids outlines that process. 

http://www.plri.org/resource/feminism-power-and-sex-work-context-hivaids-consequences-womens-health

Cheryl Overs

Theme: 

Human Rights and Law

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