Press conference report, Sex Workers Freedom Festival, XIX International AIDS Conference HUB, Kolkata, 2012
All participants of this press-conference were representing sex workers’ issues in 5 geographical regions of the world and spoke in one voice of the Global Network or Sex Work Projects (NSWP).
Participants of the press conference: Andrew Hunter, president of NSWP; Anna Pickering, NZPC, New Zealand; John Mathenge, HOYMAS, Kenya; Thierry Schaffauser, ICRSE, France; Laxmi Chandradev Tripathi, India and us, SWAN.
Young journalist of India television gave an impression of unbiased person and the set of questions related to different legal frameworks for sex work worldwide didn’t violent the rights and rules of both professions: sex work or journalism. I had a chance to introduce several sex work issues in the SWAN region such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, condoms as a proof, jail sentences, repeatedly arrests and judicial practices.
Kenya representative pointed out problems of USA donations to AIDS prevention related to anti prostitution pledge. Considering HIV prevalence in Africa this policy has to be change as soon as possible.
New Zealand representative presented good practices of the country that decriminalized and depenalized all aspects of sex work. New Zealand sex worker are in a position to press charges against client who didn’t pay.
Laxmi, transgender sex worker from India, celebrity in her own country as well as worldwide, has been presented as “bad girl ambassador of NSWP” (as a balance to UN’s ‘ambassadors of good will’). She pointed out two big problems of India:
1. Even women groups / organizations who supports India’s widows (highly vulnerable group in this country) are opposing sex work
2. Increasing violence against transgender sex workers (hidzra - hijra) in India
It can be concluded that sex workers all around the world are unified in struggle for sex workers and human rights and presented the same goals at the press conference.