Historical/political snapshot (Wikipedia): Russia, also officially known as the Russian Federation, is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic. At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world.
Human Rights 2015: an overview by Amnesty International
HIV/AIDS rates: according to UNAIDS number of people living with HIV in Russia in 2014 is 850,000-1,300,000 (0,6- 0,9%). According to HIV-center Russia there are 907.607 people living with HIV in Russia (as of 31.12.2014)
HIV prevalence among sex-workers: The prevalence of HIV infection among sex-workers in various cities ranged from 3.8% to 11.6% (2012). Around 15% of indoors sex-workers and more than 60% of outdoor sex-workers in St-Petersburg are HIV-positive (2015).
Legal situation around sex-work: It is illegal to sell sex and to organise commercial sex in any place.
The Code of Administrative Offences prohibits 'engagement in prostitution' (Article 6.1.1) and 'Deriving Income from Engagement in Prostitution, Where This Income Is Connected with Another Person's Engagement in Prostitution' (Article 6.12).
The Criminal Code makes it illegal to keep brothels and organise prostitution. (articles 240 and 241)
The laws are rarely used and there is a large, open sex industry in many parts of the country due to widespread police corruption.
In May 2013, Russia's national organization of sex workers, Silver Rose, was denied NGO registration by Russia's Ministry of Justice. The Ministry declared that 'there is no such profession as sex work, 'accusing Silver Rose of 'campaigning and propaganda inciting social, racial, national and or religious hatred and enmity' (Article 29 of the Constitution) and 'organization of prostitution".
Although there is no formal provision for mandatory medical examinations, sex workers have suggested that local police and health workers together create and enforce rules aimed at removing infected women from the sex industry.
It is not illegal to buy sex.
Services for sex-workers:
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)
May 20, 2009, Saratov -- A Russian police officer lost his position after being exposed for accepting bribes from a pimp. Read more in Russian..
In December 2008 number of leading Russian media reported on human rights abuses and violence against sex workers and initiated debate about possible legalization of sex work. Sex workers in Petersburg marched with red umbrellas and civil society organizations in Barnaul, Siberia, met with sex workers to understand their problems and needs.
Last November Russian TV station 100TV devoted its Freedom Bridge show to sex work issues. One of the guests in the studio was Irina Maslova from Humanitarian Action, SWAN member from Russia. The viewers voted on the question Do you consider prostitution to be a profession? The result: 4,299 said YES and 4,294 NO.
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.
Our Lives Matter: Sex Workers Unite for Health and Rights is a report by Anna-Louise Crago, published in August 2008 by the Open Society Institute. It highlights the creative ways in which sex workers in eight countries have organized to defend their human rights and health. Among the featured groups are two SWAN members. In this issue we are reprinting the chapter featuring Humanitarian Action from Sankt Petersburg, Russia.
January 9, 2009
The Web site GayRussia.ru posted its list of the top news stories of 2008. Domestically, the portal cited the end of the ban on blood donation by gay people, Moscow’s third gay pride events, and the aborted gay film festival in St. Petersburg.
Russia St Petersburg - Irina Maslova of "Humanitarian Action", one of SWAN members in Russia, took part in public discussion on prostitution on Russia. A 65 min long TV discussion, where to a question "Do you consider prostitution a kind of profession?" 4299 of viewers voted YES and 4294 voted NO.
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