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SWAN News, Issue 19, Year 3, April-May 2008


*SWAN representatives at the IHRA conference in Barcelona…
*… and at the AIDS conference in Mexico
*Ukraine: Launch of the Ukrainian Sex Workers Community Mobilization Project
*Macedonia: Services for sex workers expand out of the capital
*Bulgaria: HESED commemorates International AIDS victims’ day

*Sex work and migration: St. Pauli Protocol

*Tips for Sex Workers Giving Media Interviews
*Sex Work, trafficking: understanding the difference

*Sex workers in Ukraine organize to defend their rights
*Sex workers in South Africa are tired of cops raping them

*Women against Rape call to sign petition, write to local press and MP
*Cambodian sex workers need your help!

*The Bad Girls Dictionary
*Sex work, violence and HIV



SWAN representatives at the IHRA conference in Barcelona…
19th International Harm Reduction Conference was this year held from 10-15 May in Barcelona, Spain. HESED, SWAN member from Bulgaria was one of the speakers at a panel related to sex work issues. More

… and at the AIDS conference in Mexico
Two SWAN members will present at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. More

Ukraine: Launch of the Ukrainian Sex Workers Community Mobilization Project
UHRA, SWAN member from Ukraine, organized in Kamenets-Podolskii leadership training for sex workers, with participation of 14 sex workers from 14 region of the country. This was also the launch of the Ukrainian sex workers community mobilization project. Police present the biggest threat for sex workers in Ukraine, shows a recent survey. More


Macedonia: Services for sex workers expand out of the capital
On April 1 this year the national project Keeping low HIV prevalence in Republic of Macedonia was launched. Through this program financially supported by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), services for sex workers, their clients and families will for the first time ever be expanded out of Skopje. HOPS, SWAN member from Macedonia will run current and establish new activities targeting sex workers. More

Bulgaria: HESED commemorates International AIDS victims’ day
The 3rd week of May is dedicated to the support to the people infected and affected by HIV. On that occasion in May 18th HESED, SWAN member from Bulgaria, took part in an initiative organized by the Bulgarian Ministry of Health and the National Program for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS. More

Sex work and migration: St. Pauli Protocol
On 17 to 19 April 2008 the 39th Seminar on Prostitution was held in the city of Hamburg, Germany. The topic of the seminar was Similarities and differences in the context of Migration and Sex Work. Participants adopted St. Pauli Protocol on sex work and migration. More

In this column, SWAN News publishes articles that can help sex workers rights advocates in their daily work: how to challenge the myths surrounding sex work, how to fight abolitionists, how to work with media, communicate, create an effective message and get it across. In today’s edition of the School, we will talk about giving media interviews And about making difference between sex work and human trafficking.

 Tips for Sex Workers Giving Media Interviews
Excerpts from the Media Survival Guide for Sex Workers by Alexandra Beesley
As a documentary maker and sex worker I have worked with such people as Sky Television, Granada, ABC, BBC, SBS and ITV, and have experienced first hand how easy it is to manipulate, titillate and use footage and sound bites out of context.
The media's power to influence our culture is obvious and mainstream media's tendency to gravitate towards the superficial and sensational means that people who work in the sex industry are generally portrayed under a negative light, enforcing and perpetuating stereotypes. More


Sex Work, trafficking: understanding the difference
Reprinted from www.RealityCheck.org  - Melissa Ditmore’s Blog
May 6, 2008 -- Even those who mean well sometimes confuse the human rights abuse of trafficking in persons with the human occupation of prostitution, or sex work. It's understandable because of the history of the two fields, but it creates rather than solves problems. Let me try to sort it out here. More


Nothing about us without us is a message repeated more often then ever before by sex workers around the world. This new column in the SWAN News provides an opportunity for sex workers to express their opinions, tell us about their lives, problems and dreams. The column is edited by Anna-Louise Crago, sex worker and advocate for sex workers human rights. Contributions are welcome: write to

In today’s issue we are publishing a report from the recent sex workers leadership training held in Ukraine, and an interview that Anna-Louise recently made with Caroline Zulu, a sex worker from South Africa.
Sex workers in Ukraine organize to defend their rights
Elena, SWAN member and journalist in the Kiev newspaper Motilek was one of the participants of the sex workers leadership training recently held in Ukraine. She shares with us her impressions from the event. More


Sex workers in South Africa are tired of cops raping them
Caroline Zulu, sex worker and rights advocate from South Africa, talks with Anna-Louise Crago of the SWAN News about police violence against sex workers in her country and the community’s response to it. More


Women against Rape call to sign petition, write to local press and MP

With so many serial rapists and murderers in the news, women are demanding to know why our safety continues to be so undervalued. At our recent Public Trial – the Rape of Justice, who’s guilty? 30 rape survivors – among them a sex worker - gave harrowing testimonies about how their case was closed or evidence lost, leaving their attacker unprosecuted, free to attack someone else. More


Cambodian sex workers need your help!
Cambodia has recently passed an anti-trafficking law which equates all sex work with trafficking and has led to massive closures of brothels and widespread human rights abuses against sex workers. Sex workers have been forcibly detained in rehabilitation centers where they have been raped and robbed by police and guards. More

The Bad Girls Dictionary
By Empower Foundation, www.empowerfoundation.org/
While most of us never challenge or even consider the role of linguistics in our daily lives, Empower, a group offering support for sex workers, has created the Bad Girls Dictionary, in which typical meanings of words are reworked in a new light. Written in the first person, the text works to present old ideas in a new prejudice-free light. More

Sex work, violence and HIV
A guide for programs with sex workers
By International HIV/AIDS Alliance, www.aidsalliance.org
This guide gives a detailed understanding of violence in relation to sex work and challenges some common assumptions. The guide provides example programs to illustrate ways in which HIV and AIDS projects can help reduce the incidence of violence against sex workers and provide support to those who experience violence. More


“He cut my hair, forced me to give him a blow job, beat me up and broke me one rib, and then charged me with a 650 Griven (130 US Dollars) fine.”
-- A Ukrainian sex worker in a recent survey conducted by UHRA, about the police violence against sex workers in Ukraine

“And if you don’t pay they take you to jail for some days and that is not the right place for a human being. You can’t take antiretroviral drugs or any medication you need. There is no food or water or cigarettes. They don’t allow you a shirt if it is cold, or a visitor. But if you pay, you don’t have to go there. And most pay.”
-- Caroline Zulu, South African sex worker and rights advocate, in an interview to SWAN News, about police requesting pay-backs from sex workers in South Africa

“Last month, the cops went into the parking lot as usual looking for sex workers. But the sex workers were tired of how the cops come and rape them. So, they locked one of the police officers up in a little room. Then they ran and called the Daily Sun newspaper and told them. The police officer had broken down the door by the time the media arrived but they managed to get pictures of him running away!”
-- Caroline Zulu, South African sex worker and rights advocate, in an interview to SWAN News

For copyrights reasons, we are sometimes unable to place the full text of the selected articles on the SWAN-HCLU website. Instead, we are providing a link to the news source, for which we do not know how long it will be active. We apologize in advance for possible inconveniences. Some headlines are edited.

CTK, Czech Republic
Minister: Legalization of prostitution a long-distance run
Prague, May 20, 2008 -- The Czech Republic lacks a law that would regulate prostitution and it is unlikely that such a law will be passed in the near future, Czech Human Rights and Minorities Minister Dzamila Stehlikova told journalists Tuesday. More


The Guardian, UK
Police failings in rape cases are far worse than they admit
March 12, 2008 -- John Yates, the Metropolitan police's assistant commissioner, has finally admitted what rape survivors have said for years: that "police are contributing to the 'appalling' conviction rate in rape cases because officers too often fail to take alleged victims seriously enough and settle for mediocrity in their inquiries" More


Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia
Sex workers rally against new anti-trafficking law
JUNE 4, 2008 -- For six months they have endured worsening physical and sexual abuse at the hands of police over-zealously enforcing a new anti-trafficking law, but now Cambodian sex workers are fighting back. More


Monsters and Critics.com, USA
Cambodia to investigate alleged police abuse of sex workers
Jun 4, 2008, Phnom Penh -- Cambodia's top anti-trafficking official Wednesday pledged an immediate investigation after sex workers tearfully alleged a new zero tolerance policy on brothels had led to rapes, robberies and abuses of human rights by police. More

Radio Australia, Australia
Tamil Nadu recognizes transgender as separate sex
Jun 4, 2008 -- A state in south India has become the country's first to recognize transgender people as a separate sex. More

Afrol News, Norway
Egypt court upholds HIV sentences
May 29, 2008 -- A Cairo appeals court has decided to uphold the sentences imposed on five men jailed in a crackdown on people living with HIV/AIDS. A total of nine HIV positive men have been sentenced to prison so far, the courts seeing them as a threat to the public. More

Shanghai Daily, China
China bans sex workers during Olympics
June 2, 2008 -- Overseas visitors suspected of working in the sex trade, of smuggling drugs or belonging to a terrorist organization will not be allowed to enter China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. More

Malaysia Star, Malaysia
Women: Men must be encouraged to practise safe sex too
Petaling Jaya, June 2, 2008 -- Women’s groups have come out in support of the Health Ministry for promoting the use of condoms to combat HIV, but say practicing safe sex is the responsibility of both men and women. More

Calcutta Telegraph, India
Rituals that bound people tight
Cuttack, June 1, 2008 -- An essentially Hindu ceremony performed in Cuttack on Saturday managed to break down social and religious barriers successfully as it embraced “different” people from all sections of the society, including sex workers, and made them an integral part of the event. More

TVNZ, New Zealand
Sex worker numbers same as 2003
May 23, 2008 -- Making prostitution legal has had little effect of the number of people in the sex industry. The Prostitution Law Review Committee review has also found the law has had an effect on safeguarding the right of workers to refuse clients, with a majority of workers now more likely to report incidents of violence to police. More

The Daily Bruin, California, USA
Unveiled, unyielding and unashamed
UCLA alumnae tell their own experiences to help sex workers
May 23, 2008 -- Happily married and pregnant, UCLA Alumna Harmony Dust runs Treasures, a support group she started four years ago to aid women in the sex industry More

Sowetan, South Africa
Sex girls in fear of Police ‘rapists’
23 May 2008 -- The lives of prostitutes are fraught with the danger of being raped and they are often threatened with firearms and knives. This is compounded by claims of violence and abuse at the hands of the police. These are some of the research findings of the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat)… Nationally, police rape statistics stood at 52,617 in the 2006/2007 financial year. More

The Telegraph, UK
Indian prostitutes receive life insurance
May 1, 2008 -- Around 250 sex workers in India's eastern city of Kolkata have, for the first time received life insurance cover from a State-owned corporation. More

POZ Magazine, USA
Taking care of business
May 2008 -- HIV infections keep rising in India. But they have fallen drastically among one group: the country’s sex workers. These global prevention leaders are teaching squeamish governments—including America’s—how to get the job done. More

The list of SWAN News subscribers is getting bigger by the day. Please let us know if you receive the News regularly (we hope we are not discarded as spam by your computer email filter?) and give us suggestions for improvement. If you have news or stories on the sex work issues that you think are interesting or relevant for the advocates and policy makers who receive the SWAN News, please send them to us. We will carefully read and seriously consider publishing them. Our email address is sexwork@tasz.hu
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SWAN newsletter is the voice of the Sex Workers Rights Advocacy Network, a network of civil society organizations engaged in advocating the Human Rights of the sex workers in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. More

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