Historical/political snapshot (Wikipedia): Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe.
Human Rights 2015: an overview by Amnesty International
HIV/AIDS rates: according to UNAIDS HIV/AIDS prevalence among adults aged 15 to 49 is <0.1% [<0.1% - 0.1%] (2014).
HIV prevalence among sex workers: no data
Legal situation around sex work: Sex work is legal, but operating brothels or other forms of pimping or coercive sex work and prostitution of minors are prohibited, as is living off someone else's sex work. Sex work is the only profession in Poland that is not taxed, but sex workers may be asked by authorities to prove that is what they do, since prostitution is not recognized as legitimate work, and therefore receive no social benefits.
SWAN members from Poland, Macedonia, Russia, Turkey, Slovakia and Ukraine commemorated the 17th of December with different events.
The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) have organized a 3 days long Community Mobilization and Media training for sex workers that took place on December 5-8, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. There were 10 sex workers at the training, who came from the countries of SWAN region, majority of which do not have formal or informal groups of sex workers yet.
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)