Country information: Kyrgyzstan (officially the Kyrgyz Republic) is a country located in Central Asia landlocked between Western and Central Tian Shan range and Northern Pamir Mountains.
Human Rights 2015: an overview by Amnesty International.
Number of sex workers: 6900 - 7100 (data of the research on quantity evaluation, 2013).
HIV among sex workers: 2,2%. (results of the Patrol Epidemiological Supervisory Control, 2013).
Legislation and sex work: Sex work is not legalized, but it is not either criminal, or administratice offence.
The Penalty Code punishes crimes aimed at:
- Human trafficking (Art. 124 PC KR): we understand the following as exploitation... coercion into prostitution or otehr forms of sexual activity
- Involvement into prostitution (Art. 260 PC KR)
- Organization or keeping disorderly houses for prostitution (Art. 261 PC KR)
- Contamination with HIV infection (Art. 117 PC KR)
- Contamination with a veneral disease (Art. 118 PC KR)
Administrative Code articles that are used against sex workers as ground for extortion and other illegal actions:
- Avoidance of examination by those who have STDs (Art. 87)
- Disorderly conduct (Art. 364)
- Disobeying a lawful order or request of the police officer or other persons carrying out duties on protection of public order (Art. 371)
- Living witout registration (Art. 384)
- Consumption of drugs or psychotropic substances, drinking alcohol and appearance in public places drunk, which humiliates human dignity (Art. 366)
Most commonly sex workers are illegally prosecuted during police raids, most of which are unauthorised, in other words, without written orders of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
By Anna-Louisa Crago
What is the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (GCHL)?
It is a commission put in place by the UN to study the impact of different laws on HIV-prevention, treatment and care. It also studies the impact of laws on discrimination and violence against people living with HIV or at high-risk of HIV.
The commissioners are a group of highly respected individuals and experts from around the world and include former heads of state, judges and policy experts. They are advised by a committee of technical experts with extensive knowledge about HIV and the law.
The commission is particular because it is independent of the UN. That means that the commissioners can come to their own conclusions, even if coutries within the UN or UN workers disagree with these.
What does the GCHL have to do with SWAN?
Individuals and groups from the CEE/CA, as well as other regions,were invited to submit testimony about the impact of different laws and HIV. SWAN submitted a submission that tried to include experiences from all across the region. Many other SWAN groups individually submitted such as HOPS (Macedonia), Lega-Life (Ukraine) and HESED (Bulgaria).
By Aliya Rakhmetova
July 16, Vienna, Austria - The International AIDS Conference (IAC) was preceded by a number of events to provide space for journalists, communities representatives, networks and researchers to make their participation in the IAC as meaningful as possible. In the framework of the IAC, SWAN was invited to hold a training with the National Press Foundation (http://www.nationalpress.org), whose primary mission is to increase journalists’ knowledge of complex issues in order to improve public knowledge.
By Marija Tosheva, HOPS, Macedonia
On July 20, 2010, the second day of Vienna conference, SWAN organized an oral session on Sex work, mobility, migration and human rights in Europe and Central Asia. 6 experienced activists from the region, members of SWAN and TAMPEP networks, had a chance in front of an excellent audience to challenge and start a discussion on vulnerabilities and structural barriers faced by mobile and migrant sex workers to better health and human rights.
July 18-23, Vienna, Austria – This year sex workers and allies from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia had a chance to talk about barriers and issues that sex workers face in their countries, to show what groups and organizations have achieved in addressing the pandemics and violations in their region. The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) was represented by 11 activists from Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia and Montenegro, a team of young and energetic volunteers from Odyseus, Slovakia and a performance group from Bliss without Risk, Czech Republic.
Shahnaz Islamova of Tais Plus shares how sex workers are trying to stay safe in the midst of a revolution in Kyrgyzstan that has turned violent.
March, 2010, Budapest – The beginning of March proved to be busy and full of events for some of SWAN members. SWAN representatives from Tais Plus (Kyrgyzstan), Legalife (Ukraine), Humanitarian Action (Russia) and the SWAN secretariat were invited to Budapest by the Open Society Institute to take part in an intensive 5-day hands-on training in creating advocacy films.
Sex workers’ organizations across Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia used the opportunity of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers to advocate SW’s rights. Below is a summary of the activities carried out be the organizations.
On 25th-29th April 2010, the 21st International Harm Reduction Conference is taking place where it was first established in Liverpool, England.
The meeting brought together 32 participants from 16 countries with the aim to exchange experience, share problems and find solutions, renew and strengthen the partnership ties and get to know new network members better.
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.
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.
Coordinator Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN)
The following story was documented and shared at the 24th Program Coordinating Board (UNAIDS) Meeting, Thematic Segment People on the Move in June of 2009 by Gulnara Kurmanova of Tais Plus, a SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan with the assistance from Selbi Jumayeva and published on the blog of Laura Agustin Border Thinking on Migration, Trafficking and Commercial Sex. The story tells about the surviving of sex workers - and in particular of migrant transgender sex workers - on the streets of Bishkek.
May 15-16, 2009 – Sex workers participated in a seminar on empowerment and strategies to increase efficiency of HIV prevention among sex workers of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan organized by Tais Plus, SWAN representative in Kyrgyzstan. But this was not the only goal of the meeting. Participants used the opportunity to discuss ways of uniting and creating a nationwide network of sex workers after having voted unanimously for the necessity to have such a network in Kyrgyzstan.
On 17th of December Tais Plus, SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan presented a social drama piece, played by sex workers for audience gathered in Labrys Community Center in Bishkek, the nation’s capital. The audience saw examples of violence in the work place and why sex workers as victims of such violence do not address the police.
Seminars on sex work and human rights for media reporters were organized in November by SWAN member organizations in Sankt Petersburg, Irkutsk and Chelyabinsk in Russia, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Taldikorgan in Kazakhstan.
On 20-25 October 2008 Tais Plus, SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan presented its Shadow Report on the implementation of UN CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) by the Kyrgyz Republic at the 42nd CEDAW session in Geneva, Switzerland. More
In this issue of Sex Workers’ Report we speak with Shahnaz, a sex worker and activist from Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia, formerly part of Soviet Union. We discuss the economics of sex work. People are so much focused on the sex part of sex work, that they often forget the money side of the equation. Shahnaz, actively involved with TAIS Plus, a SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan, tells us how sex workers’ struggle to make out a living while their earnings are supporting extended families, babysitters, landlords, clinics, and police officers. More
Shahnaz Islamova from Tais Plus, SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan participated at the Barcelona conference and spoke about Tais Plus outreach work with sex workers. Shahnaz’s presentation can be read here.
Representatives of two organizations, members of SWAN Network, participated at the Mexico conference: Irina Maslova from Humanitarian Action in Russia and Gulnara Kurmanova from Tais Plus in Kyrgyzstan. Here is a short report on the conference, written by Irina exclusively for the SWAN News. More
On 10 June 2008, a two-hours informal interactive civil society hearing, with the theme of Action For Universal Access 2010: Myths and Realities, was run in High-Level Meeting on AIDS (General Assembly, United Nations, New York). One of the civil society rapporteurs was Gulnara Kurmanova of Tais Plus, SWAN member from Kyrgyzstan. More