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By Aliya on Dec 16th, 2009

The Ohrid network meeting was preceded by an activists’ meeting. 18 sex worker activists turned the meeting room into an art workshop and a cafeteria to discuss issues and personal experience around sex work in their countries.

By Aliya on Dec 15th, 2009

(translated from Hungarian)

The participants included sex workers and representatives of organizations promoting sex workers’ rights from 16 countries . When checking in it was already clear that we were about to have a training of relaxed atmosphere with a team of nice, intelligent and funny people. The level of the hotel service further raised our mood.

By Aliya on Dec 15th, 2009

Dear all:

To mark December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, the Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia is releasing its new report, Arrest the Violence: Human Rights Violations Against Sex Workers in 11 Countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The report is based on interviews with more than 200 male, female and transgender sex workers between 2007 and 2009 and chillingly documents widespread violence and discrimination against them, particularly by state actors.

According to Rebecca Schleifer of Human Rights Watch’s Health and Human Rights Division:

Arrest the Violence is the first piece of research done under the leadership of sex workers to document human rights violations they face across Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Sex workers throughout the region report that they face verbal and physical abuse, including beatings, kidnapping, and sexual violence, by police and private citizens. Sex workers also report that police confiscated condoms as “evidence” of sex work, and subjected them to mandatory HIV testing.
These are not isolated incidents. The physical, sexual, and verbal violations of sex workers’ rights are part of a pattern of abuse by police and in the community that is documented throughout the region.
It is my sincere hope that this report will serve as a catalyst to awaken the broader human rights community to the importance of documenting and denouncing human rights abuses against sex workers, and working with sex workers to end these abuses.

To access the report, please follow the links below.
Questions or comments may be directed to SWAN@TASZ.HU.

Sincerely,
Aliya Rakhmetova
Coordinator Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN)

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By olga on Nov 3rd, 2009

"From us to us" published by STAR, a Macedonian sex workers’ rights activists group covers local and international news about sex work and provides an overview of various opinions on trafficking. Read Issue 7 and Issue 8 in Macedonian.

By Guest on Sep 28th, 2009

After the police raid that took place on 20-21st November, 2008 in Skopje, Macedonia during which 23 sex workers were detained and tested for HIV, HEP B and HEP C, both national and international human rights groups, sex workers groups, supporters and allies took a wide range of actions to raise awareness on the issue, protect the sex workers involved and prevent similar future violations.

By Aliya on Jun 22nd, 2009

May 20-24, 2009, Skopje – 13 sex workers from 3 cities met for a peer-assist training organized by H.E.R.A. and HOPS, SWAN member in Macedonia, and supported by UNFPA-Macedonia.

By Aliya on Jun 19th, 2009

Macedonian group of sex workers STAR has developed the 6th issue of their community newsletter. In this issue: a story of a prostitute, sex work and economic crisis, peer-training in Skopje, basic human rights, and more! Download Issue 6 in Macedonian here. Download previous Issue here.

By Aliya on Mar 29th, 2009

HOPS, which works to protect and promote the rights of sex workers, started partnership with WITNES (www.witness.org), human rights organization (based in New York but working globally), who uses and promotes video activism as an effective and supportive tool for promotion of rights of different groups within ongoing human rights campaigns. Concrete partnership between HOPS and WITNESS includes support in developing video advocacy plan about integrating video in this year’s 17th December campaign.

By Aliya on Jan 27th, 2009

In several countries SWAN member organizations, sex workers, their friends and supporters, organized collection of signatures on a SWAN petition regarding the November 2008 detention and involuntary HIV and STI testing of sex workers in Skopje, Macedonia.

By Aliya on Jan 27th, 2009

High-profile multimedia exhibition, public opening of red umbrellas, post cards and newsletter distribution were parts of this years campaign, that aimed at raising awareness of general audience about discrimination against sex workers, and of sex workers about their own rights. A song on sex workers released in Skopje.

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