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SWAN News, Issues 24, April-May 2009

Read on-line SWAN News, Issue 25 here
Download printable version
here (PDF)

IN FOCUS: Meetings and debates: Fighting trafficking. Who bothers to consult sex workers?
* OSI and partners organize anti-trafficking and sex worker rights meetings
* Hungary: Criminalize clients. Don’t ask prostitutes
* Cambodia: MTV no EXIT campaign indirectly supports abusive anti-trafficking law
* Australia: Salvation Army apologizes to sex workers

* Lithuania: popular TV show discusses sex work situation in the country
* Kyrgyzstan: sex workers get together to learn and unite
* Ukraine: LEGALIFE meets again
* Serbia: JAZAS drop-in center for sex workers introduces new fun activities
* Serbia: sex workers meet with theater actors in Belgrade
* Macedonia: sex workers can be good educators too!

* Sweden: “We want to save you. And if you don’t appreciate it, we will punish you!”

* Documenting police brutality and misconduct

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Meetings and debates: Fighting trafficking. Who bothers to consult sex workers?
The safety and wellbeing of citizens should be and, in most cases, is of great concern to the majority of countries. Stopping the exploitation and trafficking of people is one of the issues that states have been trying to address. Unfortunately, the practice of using the terms “trafficking” and “prostitution” interchangeably affects the formulation of laws in a way that threatens the safety and wellbeing of citizens. Sex workers are still among those whose voices and experiences are ignored by the state officials and academicians, when a new law or national strategy is introduced.
In this section, we share the news on how state agencies and NGOs try or fail to include sex workers in discussion making and strategy development processes and how sex workers find a way to be heard in different parts of the world.

OSI and partners organize anti-trafficking and sex worker rights meetings
December, 2008 – Two meetings were organized by SHARP/OSI in collaboration with the Program on Human Trafficking and Forced labor, CREA (Creating Resources of Empowerment in Action) and NSWP (Network of Sex Work Projects). While the first meeting brought together sex worker activists and experts on trafficking issues to discuss concerns of rights violations in the already implemented anti-trafficking approaches, the second meeting was dedicated to creating a space for a dialogue between donors, sex worker rights activists and anti-trafficking activists to discuss possibilities to support sex workers’ rights within anti-trafficking framework. More…

Hungary: Criminalize clients. Don’t ask prostitutes
April 30, 2009, Budapest -- Prostitution has already been legal in Hungary for 10 years and it might still be legal while not such bright future awaits the clients. Anti-trafficking organizations in Hungary are pushing for the introduction of Swedish type of legislation, according to which the client commits a crime when buying sexual services from a prostitute. More..

Cambodia: MTV no EXIT campaign indirectly supports abusive anti-trafficking law
2009, Cambodia – Cambodian sex work activists are outraged at the way MTV is advocating for fight against trafficking at the expense of safety and rights of local sex workers. More…

Australia: Salvation Army apologizes to sex workers
May 23, Australia -- In a lead up to its major Fundraising campaign, the Salvation Army of New South Wales Australia, launched an offensive add on May 22nd 2009. It read: "To get Rick out of prostitution, we had to resort to smuggling. This is the door that saved his life. When Rick left a message on a computer screen inside our Oasis van we had to act fast. Disguised as a client, we picked him up, took him to the airport and flew him interstate to one of our rehab centres, miles away from the heroin and hustling…” More…

Lithuania: popular TV show discusses sex work situation in the country

May 4, 2009, Vilnius --- the analytical TV show „Balsas.lt“ which is broadcasted through TV3, one of the most popular commercial television channels in Lithuania, featured the sex work situation in Lithuania. Sex workers, police officers and MPs were interviewed. More…

Kyrgyzstan: sex workers get together to learn and unite
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. More…

Ukraine: LEGALIFE meets again
May 26-27, 2009, Kiev – Sex workers initiative group "League LEGALIFE” got together with the support of UHRA, SWAN representative in Ukraine, and International AIDS/HIV Alliance in Ukraine. Representatives of five major regions of Ukraine met in Kiev to discuss the perspectives of the League, its further development, strategic plans and potential problems.More…

Serbia: JAZAS drop-in center for sex workers introduces new fun activities
Since the beginning of 2009, the drop-in center for sex workers, which is run by JAZAS, SWAN member from Serbia, has successfully introduced new activities. More…

Serbia: sex workers meet with theater actors in Belgrade
Recently JAZAS’ self-support group facilitators and 6 sex workers went to the theater in April to watch the play “Suma blista” (Wondrous forest) which touches upon issues of trafficking and prostitution. The daughter of one of the facilitators acts in the play, and they thought it would be a great idea to arrange for sex workers to come and see the play. More… 

Macedonia: sex workers can be good educators too!
May 20-24, 2009, Skopje – 13 sex workers from 3 cities met for a peer-assist training organized by H.E.R.A. and HOPS, SWAN member in Macedonia, and supported by UNFPA-Macedonia. More… 

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. Contributions are welcome: write to sexwork@tasz.hu

Sweden: “We want to save you. And if you don’t appreciate it, we will punish you!”
In this issue of SWAN News we present a video interview with a Swedish sex worker and activist Pye Jacobsson about the legislation around prostitution and its impact on sex workers’ lives in Sweden. 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.

Documenting police brutality and misconduct
In this issue we will talk about what is police brutality and misconduct and how some groups fight it with the help of simple use of mobile camera. More… 

“In a society governed by laws and not individuals, no one should be above the law. This includes the police.” – From the website of Communities United Against Police Brutality.

STAR newsletter Issue 6 is now available

Macedonian group of sex workers STAR has developed the 6th issue of their community newsletter. In this issue: a story of a prostitute, sex work and economic crisis, peer-training in Skopje, basic human rights, and more! Download Issue 6 in Macedonian here. Download previous Issue here.

New format of SHARP’s newsletter
SHARP is pleased to present its updated newsletter format. The newsletter will be released quarterly and will focus on SHARP’s activities and grantees. To subscribe to our newsletter, please visit SHARP webpage.

ISHR Simple Guide to the Treaty Bodies - updated edition
ISHR has just re-edited its Simple Guide to the Treaty Bodies. The updated edition can be downloaded here.
The Simple Guide aims to provide human rights defenders and their organisations with a broad overview of the UN human rights treaty body system and its functions in order to support their effective engagement with the treaty bodies in their own work. More

STELLA' latest issue of ConStellation magazine is now available
Here is the latest ConStellation magazine. More than 80 interviews have been done in the sex industry, months of research before printing this really really amazing issue!
As you'll see, the articles are not all online, they have been censured for the general public. But the publishers will send you a PDF version of it with all the texts included, if you ask them directly. Read English version here.

SWAN is expanding the network
Sex Workers Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN – www.swannet.org) is looking for partners in Poland and Azerbaijan. We invite civil society organizations who work with sex workers to learn more about SWAN and it’s founding principles and send their letters of interest to SWAN@TASZ.HU not later than July 20, 2009.

Participate in sex workers art exhibition!
Asian Pacific Network of Sex Work plans to organize a Sex Worker Art Exhibition called 'The face of sex work'. This will be a space for visual art. The organizers plan to set up a multi-media exhibition where sex workers messages on HIV and Human rights issues are presented directly from our communities to conference goers in an unmediated format- the Sex workers speaking for themselves. This will allow non English speaking sex workers to present their issues through art and performance and communicate sex workers issues and ideas. More...

Recruitment for five delegates to the UNAIDS PCB NGO Delegation
PCB NGO Delegates represent the perspectives of civil society, including people living with HIV, within UNAIDS policies and programming. NGO delegates actively seek input from their respective communities on key issues related to UNAIDS policies and programs, and advocate with members states (governments) and cosponsoring organisations (the United Nations organisations that make up the UNAIDS 'family') for meaningful improvements in the implementation and evaluation of AIDS policies and programmes. More..

Give the women of Europe the right to free abortion!
Not long ago, sexual and reproductive health and rights were excluded from the list of other Human Rights. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. However, these rights are constantly challenged, even here in Europe. Birgitta Ohlsson, Member of the Swedish Parliament since 2002, President of Liberal Women and Spokesperson Foreign Affairs Liberal Party took the initiative to start this petition to give women in the EU the right to free, legal abortions. More

BBC News, India
Indian sex workers get a lesson in karate
Prostitutes in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have begun taking karate lessons to protect themselves from violent customers and pimps. More..

NewsRu, Russia
Invalids of Kazakhstan petition to legalize prostitution
The organization of physically challenged citizens petitions Kazakh government to legalize prostitution and to introduce a section in the state budget that would cover sexual services for physically challenged people. Read more in Russian.

The Guardian, UK
Sex worker safety and the Poppy Project
June 1, 2009, London -- Big Brothel: a Survey of the Off-Street Sex Industry in London, was published in the fall of 2008, claiming to be “the most comprehensive study ever conducted into brothels in the UK.” The report was republished almost a month before the October 8 deadline of a Home Office consultation into proposals to amend existing legislation on prostitution and brothels. 27 academics from prestigious universities across the UK and overseas have stated that the report “exhibits serious flaws in its mode of data collection and analysis”, as well as raising serious ethical questions about the methodology used to collect data. Here are two responses to the Big Brothel report:  More…

Ninemsn, Ausralia
Sex workers protest outside parliament
June 2, 2009, Sydney -- Sex workers and the Scarlet Alliance in Australia took to the streets to mark International Whores’ Day and call on the Government to extend anti-discrimination laws to protect sex workers. More

Seattle Weekly,USA
John School Hits Roadblock
May 21, 2009, Seattle -- In Seattle Washington, a City Council mandate to offer courses to patrons of sex workers has run into problems. More

Dispatch Online,South Africa
Sex workers hit back at NPA boss
May 21, 2009, East London -- Leading up the FIFA’s 2010 World Cup soccer championship in South Africa, the question of decriminalising prostitution has become one of political and social importance for politicians and sex workers alike. The head of the National Prosecution Authority, Mokotedi Mpshe, gave his personal opinion on the decriminalisation debate by asking “What will happen to our morals if prostitution in South Africa is legalised for the 2010 Soccer World Cup?” South African sex workers responded to his comments and were none too pleased. More

Metro Vancouver, Canada
Sex-worker advocate wins support
May 29, 2009, Vancouver -- A former sex-trade worker will have support from three legal groups in her fight to one day challenge Canada’s prostitution laws. More…

The Nation, Thailand
Sex workers rally to support aids seminar
May 25, 2009 -- Thai sex workers have found a creative way to fundraise to send members to the 12th National Seminar on Aids, after the government cut funding. More

Interfax, Russia
Russian police offices relieved from duty for accepting bribes from pimps
May 20, 2009, Saratov -- A Russian police officer lost his position after being exposed for accepting bribes from a pimp. More in Russian..

Voice of America, USA
Thailand's 'Third Sex' Wants Acceptance, Legal Support
May 25, 2009, Bangkok -- Members of Thailands transgendered community speak out about what it policies would make their lives as people and sex workers easier. More…

Laura Augustine blog, UK
Sex worker rally in London against Policing and Crime Bill
March 31, 2009, London - The UK has recently passed the Policing and Crime bill which allows the state to seize property of a sex worker, even if there is no conviction, and makes ‘keeping a brothel used for prostitution’ a criminal offence. There are many other unintended evils for sex workers associated with this bill and why the sex workers rallied in London. More

Ghana News, Ghana
Cards of 'big men' with sex workers - Police can't grab offenders
April 4, 2009, Accra -- Here is a quick look at some issues facing sex wokers in Ghana. More…

ExpressBuzz, India
India: Sex workers lay down demands
April30, 2009, CHENNAI -- Leading up to the end of the country-wide elections, sex workers in India publicly called for policies and measures to make their situations better. More..

Metro Vancouver, Canada
Stemming the Sex Trade: Group aims to change prostitution laws before Olympics
May 22, 2009, Vancouver -- An organization in Canada looks to the Swedish model of criminalizing clients in order to keep women from becoming prostitutes during the 2010 Olympics. More…

The Canadian Press, Canada
Sex trade workers to be offered media training
May 18, 2009, Vancouver -- In Canada, Protitution Alternatives Councelling and Education society will offer sex workers training sessions o how to deal with the media and reporters during the 2010 Olympics. 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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