SWAN News, Issue 20, Year 3, Summer 2008
IN FOCUS: AIDS 2008, Mexico City, August 3-8 2008
The XVII International AIDS 2008 conference (IAC)was held this August in Mexico City under the theme Universal Action Now. It had focus on marginalized communities and included participation of sex workers. Three SWAN members were at the conference: Irina Maslova from Humanitarian Action, Gulnara from TAIS Plus and Anna-Louise Crago, SWAN Consultant. One presentation was based on a SWAN-made survey.
AIDS 2008 and Sex Work
An exclusive report for SWAN News by Anna-Louise Crago
Sex workers had an incredibly strong presence at this AIDS Conference and our messages were heard repeatedly throughout the event: Sex workers from all over the planet repeatedly declared that sex work is work, that UNAIDS must recognize and support sex workers’ rights and that police raids and criminalization must stop. More
Elena Reynaga: we are not the problem, we are part of the solution
Elena Reynaga, who at AIDS 2008 presented a report about sex work issues prepared by her and Anna-Louise Crago, started working as a social activist in 1994 to denounce the violation against sex workers by the police and government and became a point of reference both nationally and internationally with regard to sex work related issues including HIV, AIDS, violence, gender, human rights, and labor rights. More
AIDS 2008 plenary on sex work, full text
This year the AIDS Conference for the time in the history included a presentation by a sex worker and activist in its plenary session. Full text of the intervention by Elena Reynaga, Founder and Executive Secretary of AMMAR, Argentinean Association of Female Sex Workers is available here.
Video of the plenary is available here.
Sex Work and Human Rights – Trabajo Sexual y Derechos Humanos
Power Point presentation by Elena Reynaga and Anna-Louise Crago, as presented at AIDS 2008 is available here.
Thousands Rally in Mexico City and Call for Human Rights Protections in Global AIDS Response
Press Release, Open Society Institute
August 7, 2008, MEXICO CITY—Thousands of AIDS activists gathered today for the first ever international rally for human rights and HIV/AIDS, a key event of the XVII International AIDS Conference. The activists called on governments to ensure greater human rights protections for people living with HIV and those most affected by the epidemic, including women, sex workers, prisoners, people who use drugs, and men who have sex with men. More
AIDS 2008 Videos
Peter Piot Executive Director of UNAIDS, chants along with sex workers and allies who are protesting against him and the UNAIDS Guidance on sex work: Here
Short report from Now More Then Ever street rally and speeches by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Peter Piot on negelecting prevention among sex workers, msm and drug users: Here
Pisey Ly, a human rights activist from Cambodia, speaks out about her experiences of working for sex worker rights, and dealing with her own cultural assumptions; filmed at the International AIDS Conference, Mexico City, 2008. Here
See Alejandra from APROASE, Mexico: Here
AIDS 2008: Sex Workers Group Wins HIV and Rights Award
Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers Honored at AIDS Conference
(Mexico City, August 6, 2008) - The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) is the recipient of the 2008 international Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch announced today. More
AIDS 2008 Blog: Sex Workers and Human rights
One of the blogs at the conference was by Juliana Rincon Parra who lives in Colombia and writes for Global Voices Online. In this entry from August 12 she says “Prejudice and ignorance can go a really long way towards sustaining injustice, and that is why I believe that sessions like the one on sex workers rights at the Human Rights Networking Zone (at the AIDS 2008 Conference) was completely necessary. More
IN FOCUS: International Harm Reduction Conference, Barcelona, May 11-15, 2008
The International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) is one of the leading international non-governmental organisations promoting policies and practices that reduce the harms from all psychoactive substances. Each year IHRA holds a conference to discuss key ways of reducing the harm (as opposed to prohibiting) of certain activities such as drug use. The 2008 conference, held this May in Barcelona, saw participation of sex workers, among them from SWAN network countries.
Sex workers’ participation at IHRA
In 2006 a group of sex workers got involved in the international harm reduction field to bring the issues of health and rights for sex workers to a new arena. Our booth, panels and presentations were the most popular events at the May 2007 conference in Warsaw, and we participated at the 2008 conference in Barcelona. More
NEWS FROM SWAN NETWORK
SWAN representative takes part in a High Level Meeting on AIDS in UN…
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
… at the AIDS 2008 conference …
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
Slovakia: Harm reduction services in Slovakia to close due to cuts in funding
Lack of funding from the national Anti-drug Fund might soon result with closure of all harm reduction service providers in Slovakia. Since the country became an EU Member in 2004 most of the donors have left. EU funding is not available, leaving it to the national governments to foot the bill. After spending all their savings, SWAN member Odyseus has funds to fully operate till September. Odyseus alone estimates a gap of 23.000 euros in order to operate till the end of the year. More in a report by Peter Lazovy. More
Serbia: Sex worker outreach services expand outside the capital
In end of September this year JAZAS, SWAN member from Serbia, will organize training sessions and assist in preliminary mapping of hot- spots in two smaller towns in Serbia – Subotica and Sombor. This will be first steps towards extending sex worker outreach services outside the Serbian capital. More
Slovakia: To tread the pavement doesn´t mean to tread on our human rights!
An information and advocacy campaign was launched in August 2008 at the streets of Bratislava. Its aim is to increase awareness of street sex workers about their human rights. More
Serbia-Macedonia: SWAN sex worker training on community media
In June this year sex workers from Macedonia and Serbia participated at training in Belgrade where basic skills are developed for preparation of community newsletters. Preparations are underway among sex workers in those two countries to voice their issues, pride and concerns in publications targeting their own local community. More
Slovakia: First media sensitization seminar takes place in Bratislava
On September the 4th the first seminar for journalists was held in Slovakia to help media reporters understand better human rights issues, stigma, violence, corruption and health problems that sex workers encounter on a daily basis. Similar seminars will soon be organized in other countries in the SWAN network. More
NEWS FROM HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES
US federal judge challenges anti-prostitution pledge required by US government
Press Release, Alliance for Open Society Institute
August 8, 2008 -- In an ongoing court battle to protect the First Amendment and promote effective public health policy, a federal judge today extended free speech protection to a broad range of groups working to combat the AIDS epidemic. More
FIRST: Feminists advocating for rights and equality for sex industry workers invites you to join us
FIRST invites all interested parties who support our position to join us. Please read through our position statement. If you support it, click here to join us. You will receive notification of our meetings, an opportunity to join our committees, and more.
CALLS FOR PROPOSALS
Sex, Rights, and Law in a World with AIDS: Call for Abstracts
Deadline: September 30, 2008
In partnership with aids2031, the International Center for Research for Women (ICRW), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA) will convene a meeting in early 2009 entitled Sex, Rights, and the Law in a World with AIDS. More
Felipe de Souza Award: Call for Nominations
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) calls on the international LGBTI, human rights, and sexual rights communities to submit nominations for the 2009 Felipa de Souza Award that honors an organization or an individual whose work has made a significant contribution toward securing the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status, anywhere in the world.
More information on the award can be found at http://www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/section.php?id=76 and the application materials can be downloaded here.
SEX WORKERS’ REPORT
Nothing about us without us is a message repeated more often then ever before by sex workers around the world. This 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
After police takes your money tea, bread and macaroni are all you can afford
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
Our Lives Matter: Sex Workers Unite for Health and Rights
August 2008, Open Society Institute, by Anna-Louise Crago
Our Lives Matter: Sex Workers Unite for Health and Rights highlights the creative ways in which sex workers in eight countries have organized to defend their human rights and health. The groups featured in this report by SWAN consultant Anna-Louise Crago also include two SWAN members. More
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Health and Human Rights: An International Journal
The Open Society Institute's Shannon Kowalski and SHARP consultant Susana Fried have published an article entitled "Sex and the Global Fund: How sex workers, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, and men who have sex with men are benefiting from the Global Fund, or not" in the latest edition of Health and Human Rights. More
‘We don’t want to sew, we don’t want to knit, we don’t want to cook. We want better work conditions.
We want sex work to be recognized as work.
We want to be free to do, free to make mistakes and free to learn.
Free to decide what we, as sex workers, need.
Free from repression – this is the best way to build an effective response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Sex workers are not the problem; we are part of the solution’
-- Elena Reynaga, Founder and Executive Secretary of AMMAR, Argentinean Association of Female Sex Workers, at AIDS 2008 in Mexico City
IN THE 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.
August 3, 2008
A chance to fix the fight against AIDS
In this editorial published in beginning of August, the influential British daily Guardian argues that, to improve prevention, HIV/AIDS organisations must roll back George Bush's demonising of sex workers and drug users. More
August 28, 2008
Sex Worker Rights Are Human Rights
The idea of sex workers fighting for their human rights is a foreign concept to most people, even those who identify politically as progressives or feminists. Sex workers have lived on the margins of society through most of human history, and despite the prevalence of this work all over the world, sex workers are often treated as less than human, both in cultural attitudes and public policy. In fact, it cannot be said enough: sex workers are people -- friends, neighbors, family members, wage earners, and parents -- and they deserve the same human rights as everyone else. More
August 3, 2008
Mexican sex workers want place at AIDS conference
MEXICO CITY - A global AIDS conference that opens in Mexico City on Sunday is meant for people infected with HIV, but transsexual sex worker Elma Delea cannot get inside.
She will be protesting on the fringes of the six-day biennial event. More
Inside Costa Rica, Costa Rica
August 7, 2008
Sexual minorities and sex weorkers gain visibility at international conferences
Mexico City (IPS) - Dealing with transgenders (TGs) can be confusing. Even the organisers of the 17th International AIDS Conference underway in this city failed to accommodate the third gender by providing them separate toilets. More
June 29, 2008
Catherine Healy, New Zealand Prostitutes Collective: Decriminalize prostitution
Five years ago, New Zealand stopped arresting sex workers. Their lives have improved and the UK should now adopt the same approach More
August 27, 2008
Cambodia: Sex workers, 100% condom use and human rights
A new law that requires 100-percent condom use among sex workers in Cambodia -- where prostitution was recently outlawed -- has left sex workers all the more vulnerable to arbitrary detention and human rights abuses. More
The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
June 24, 2008
Sex workers want legislation changed
Sex workers have delivered a letter to the Cambodian embassy in Canberra calling for changes to anti-trafficking and sex work laws. More
RH Reality Check, USA
June 27, 2008
Beyond Vice and Victimhood: Recognizing the Human Rights of People in Sex Work
In this article Meena Seshu points out the problems with the pending amendment to anti-trafficking law in India. The amendment would criminalize the clients of sex workers. More
Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa
July 15, 2008
Cape Town: Sex workers need access to the law
If government departments are to fulfil their commitment to counter the practice of human trafficking, an accurate assessment of the numbers of victims is essential.
Too large an estimate could mean shifting resources away from victims of domestic and child abuse and rape to trafficking victims. Getting the right balance is delicate, but large margins of error will lead to suffering. More
Mail & Guardian, South Africa
June 28, 2008
Sex in the Mother City
A new book reveals contray to popular belief most of Cape Town's prostitutes are not victims of human trafficking and that there are hardly any child prostitutes in the city. More
International News Safety Institute
August 3, 2008
Nepal: Fifteen sex workers beat up journalists angered by ddefamatory reports
Kathmandu -- In the latest spurt of violence against media persons in Nepal, around 15 female prostitutes beat up journalists at a newspaper organisation and vandalised their office while a Maoist group threatened to kill a correspondent for allegedly writing defamatory reports. More
Dallas Voice, USA
August 28, 2008
India launces “Condom,Condom!” cell phone ring to overcome stigma
New Delhi — A cell phone ring tone that sings “Condom, condom!’’ has been launched to promote safe sex in India, where condoms carry a strong social stigma and HIV and AIDS are growing problems, health experts said recently. More
CALL FOR FEEDBACK AND CONTRIBUTIONS
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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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