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SWAN News, Issue 28, 2010


- 21-st International Harm Reduction Conference (IHRA 2010)
- HOPS, Macedonia at the IHRA
- IAC' 2010 updates
- SWAN at IAC' 2010
- Slovakia: help us fundraise for sex workers’ programs
- Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) at IAC

- Bullets Whistle Over Your Head, Kyrgyzstan
- The power we share the power we have, Thailand

- Macedonia: Impromptu Sex Worker Action In Skopje
- Hungary: SWAN at WITNESS Video Advocacy Institute and Strategic meeting in Budapest
- Albania: Media sensitization training
- Hungary: The How and Why of Getting High
- Serbia: JAZAS expands services for sex workers and opens new drop-in center

- How do American sex workers feel about the US prostitution policy abroad? (interview with Carol Leigh)



The year of 2010 is marked by at least two international events that sex worker activists and their allies from all over the world planed to take part in. International conferences and forums provide one of the ways how sex workers can make their questions and demands heard, but, unfortunately, there are circumstances that can prevent activists from participating in such events.

21-st International Harm Reduction Conference (IHRA 2010)
Rosie Campbell provides SWAN News with a review of sex worker presentation at International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA (www.ihra.net) conference which took place in Liverpool this spring. More…

HOPS, Macedonia at the IHRA
Marija Tosheva of HOPS, SWAN representative in Macedonia, shares her opinion about the IHRA and sex work-related issues. More…

International AIDS Conference (IAC 2010)
What is the IAC?
The International AIDS Conference started in 1985 and takes place every two years in a different country. The last four conferences have been in Durban (2000), Barcelona (2002), Bangkok (2004), Toronto (2006), Mexico City (2008) and the next conference will be held this July in Vienna (2010). The organizers believe that this conference will be an important event as it coincides with “the deadline by which world leaders have committed to ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support”. This conference will give an opportunity to analyse and discuss what has been achieved and what still needs to be done to achieve the goals. The conference plans to have about 25,000 participants and 2,500 media in attendance.
Follow the links and read more:
- IAC updates
- Slovakia: help us fundraise for sex workers’ programs
- Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) at IAC

IAC' 2010 updates
What is new this year?
The theme or this year’s conference is ‘Rights here, Right now’ and it aims to address the need for human rights to be at the centre of HIV/AIDS strategies concerning treatment and prevention. Now more than ever, it is absolutely clear that stigma, discrimination and human rights violations – against people living with HIV or against women, girls, young people, men who have sex with men, people who use drugs or trade/sell sex - as well as badly constructed laws and policies that have an adverse effect on key populations most affected by HIV, are major obstacles to an effective response to HIV. More...

SWAN at IAC' 2010
SWAN and SWAN members will have a presence at all of the major parts of the IAC this year. SWAN will have a booth set up to distribute for free, display and sell items, videos, and SWAN community report “Arrest the Violence”. In addition, SWAN will be launching a fist part of a video game highlighting struggles and injustices that sex workers face on a regular basis and presenting a visualization of the “Arrest the Violence” report. More…

Slovakia: help us fundraise for sex workers’ programs
There has never been a time, when fundraising for sex work projects was easy. Nonetheless, at Odyseus, we always had a few donors, who accepted (and even preferred) to support proposals that included services for sex workers. Since Slovakia joined the European Union, and even more specifically the Euro Zone, the situation started to change rapidly. As a result of the financial crises, funding diminished and with it, so did support for projects for sex workers and even more so, for advocacy for sex workers’ rights. Nowadays, we have very few, if any, options for funding to even apply for. More…

Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) at IAC
On 17th July 2010, one day before the opening of the AIDS conference, a pre-meeting for sex workers and allies will take place in Vienna. The pre-meeting will be an informal space to plan priorities and activities for the actual conference. It will be organized by a Planning Committee composed of representatives from regional networks. More information will be posted soon here http://www.nswp.org/

Global sex workers’ community and a great number of allies will be represented through all sessions and events at the IAC. Reserve time in your calendars to visit the exhibition of photography project by and for young transgender sex workers of India; various poster presentations every day; workshops and discussion; book presentations and cultural events at the stage!

Get the NSWP Roadmap to IAC here and visit NSWP website for updates (http://www.nswp.org/).

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 about their lives, problems and dreams. Contributions are welcome: write to sexwork@tasz.hu . In this issue we bring the experience of sex workers from two countries of how to survive in crisis situations.

Bullets Whistle over Your Head
Shahnaz Islamova of Tais Plus shares how sex workers are trying to stay safe in the midst of a revolution in Kyrgyzstan that has turned violent. More…

Empower Foundation, Thailand
The power we share the power we have
May 31st 2010 - Political theory seems a long way away from our daily lives as working women supporting our families. We respect human rights and support equality in society. We do not agree with violence. In April 2010, protestors and soldiers came into our streets, our community and our workplaces. More…

Macedonia: Impromptu Sex Worker Action In Skopje
This April 1st, fierce and fabulous STAR leaders Laura Feer and Tina made a spontaneous action for their rights. This action was all Laura and Tina, no donors, no organizations, just a fabulous idea and the guts to make it happen! More...

Hungary: SWAN at WITNESS Video Advocacy Institute and Strategic meeting in Budapest
March, 2010, Budapest – The beginning of March proved to be busy and full of events for some of SWAN members. SWAN representatives from Tais Plus (Kyrgyzstan), Legalife (Ukraine), Humanitarian Action (Russia) and the SWAN secretariat were invited to Budapest by the Open Society Institute to take part in an intensive 5-day hands-on training in creating advocacy films. More…

Albania: Media sensitization training
On Saturday, May 29, 2010 the third and final generation of SWAN groups participated in a training on media sensitizations in Tirana, Albania. Genci and Enkelejda of Aksion Plus were gracious hosts in their beautiful city. Representative from sex work projects from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro and Latvia participated in the one-day event which also brought together sex workers from Hungary, Albania and Bulgaria. More…

Hungary: The How and Why of Getting High
Boglárka, of the newly renamed Association of Hungarian Sex Workers informs us about recent research on Hungarian sex workers and drug use. The findings deconstruct many stereotypes about who gets high and why. More…

Serbia: JAZAS expands services for sex workers and opens new drop-in center
On October 8th, 2009, JAZAS, opened a new drop-in center for sex workers funded by the Global Fund called “Center for Support”. The center’s main activities are: the provision of legal advice by the law team; assistance by the social support team in obtaining documents necessary for getting ID, health insurance and social insurance; self-support activities for participants; and the development of promotional materials. HIV counseling and testing are also available at the center. Sex worker peer educators have been active in implementing all the activities and working with clients of the services. Their first hand experience has proved invaluable in promoting the center’s activities among sex workers. So far more than 300 services have been provided to more than 80 clients. The project’s goal is to reach 200 clients in its first year. More…


In this issue of SWAN News we look at how the American government has been advancing anti-prostitution policy globally. A lot has been written about these policies' affects on sex workers internationally. SWAN News asked Carol Leigh, aka "Scarlot Harlot", one of the leaders of the sex workers' movement in the United States since the 1980s, to tell us about how sex workers in the United States are experiencing their government's campaign against sex work all around the world.

SWAN News: How do American sex workers feel about the US prostitution policy abroad?
The sex worker activists I have worked with are angry, sad and disempowered by the [anti-prostitution] Pledge, the devastating impact this has on the lives of sex workers around the world and the ways this has effected our communities, rendering us estranged from broader liberal/left communities. More…

"Seeing the police members at the welcoming event together with sex workers activists and supporters, hearing the fact that 90% of reported cases between 2005 -2009 are solved and perpetrators are convicted, and that rape rate over the last year was 40%, was a real inspiration and hope that in a period of time, trough a committed work we can get there too.. "
--- Marija Tosheva (HOPS, Macedonia) about IHRA-2010, Liverpool.


STAR is now officially registered!
SWAN members congratulate the Macedonian group of sex workers’ rights activists with their recent official registration. Though it took them a year to get registered, we hope that the team’s patience, enthusiasm and creativity will last for decades. For more information contact STAR at star.contact@yahoo.com .

SWAN is in for changes
Years 2010 and 2011 will be marked for SWAN as years of change. We are not only revising our strategy and structure and refining our advocacy methods, but we also plan to make SWAN information and communication more accessible and understandable with the help of Parsons Communication Design and Technology (CDT) department . Keep checking our website for changes and updates and send us our comments and ideas.
PS. Though some changes will take place, SWAN will remain true to its values and believes!

Сall for papers: Research for Sex Work
Research for Sex Work is seeking contributors for its next issue, which will be on the topic of violence against sex workers. This edition will be bilingual: English/Russian and will be distributed around the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (17 December 2010).
In short:
Theme: Addressing violence against sex workers
Deadline for submissions: 1 August 2010
Word limit: 1200
We especially welcome contributions from sex workers (groups) from all over the world. Send articles in English to Nel van Beelen (r4sw@nswp.org) and in Russian to Aliya Rakhmetova (SWAN@tasz.hu). More …


New Federal Regulations on HIV/AIDS Funds Restrict Free Speech

Statement by the Open Society Institute and Pathfinder International
May 13, 2010 – On this day, new federal regulations went into effect that force care and service providers to stigmatize the very sex workers they are trying to reach with HIV-prevention programs. Under the government rule, commonly known as the "anti-prostitution pledge requirement," public health groups receiving U.S. global HIV funds must pledge their opposition to prostitution in order to continue their life-saving HIV prevention work. The requirement forces organizations to censor even their privately funded speech regarding the most effective ways to engage high-risk groups in HIV prevention. More…

Bad laws, not bad whores
The Sidney Morning Herald, Australia
June 5, 2010 - Sex workers have rallied in Sydney to demand an end to "whore-phobic" attitudes and greater protection under anti-discrimination laws. More…

Brazilian sex workers start World Cup clothing range
The Spoiler, UK
June 3, 2010 - Apart from being an entertainment spectacle, the World Cup is a tribute to football as an inclusive sport - it brings everyone together. As is currently being proved in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that also includes prostitutes.
Sex workers organisation DASPU (http://www.daspu.com.br/) (”Das Putas” = “The Hookers” in Portuguese) are cashing in on the country’s football delirum by selling their own t-shirt designs with messages of support for Brazil’s World Cup squad. More…

Sex workers in east Africa rise against violence and prejudice
AlertNet, UK
April 13, 2010, LONDON - From dingy street corners in Uganda's capital to the United Nations' gleaming headquarters in New York, east African sex workers are standing up for their rights by challenging the political and social systems that discriminate against them. More…

Sex work secrecy limits safeguards
CBC News, Canada
May 18, 2010 -- The unregulated and underground practice of street prostitution makes it difficult to counteract the dangers of the job, says a women's advocate. More…

Prostitution law puts sex workers at risk
ABC News, Australia
May 14, 2010 -- A prostitution law in the Northern Territory is putting workers at risk, the union representing sex workers claims. More…

Sex work healthier - but not problem-free
New Zealand Herald, New Zealand
Thursday May 13, 2010 - In a Sex workers are safer, healthier and more willing to go to police since prostitution was decriminalised, but the stigma remains a problem, according to a book on the changing industry. More…

SWC trafficking fears dismissed
Sport24, South Africa
May 5, 2010, Cape Town - Sex work researchers have dismissed fears of a massive rise in human trafficking for the World Cup, saying cash-strapped NGOs could be tagging onto the tournament to win extra resources. More…

Sex workers observe International Sex Workers' Rights Day
Thursday, March 4, 2010 -Kolkata, Mar 4 (ANI): Over 500 sex workers gathered from different red light areas in Kolkata to stage a candle light procession on the occasion of the 'International Sex Workers Rights Day'. More…

French sex workers protest legal brothels
Associated Press
March 25, 2010, Paris -- French sex workers are protesting a lawmaker's proposal to legalize brothels in France, saying they want a law that bans active solicitiation repealed instead. More…

Sex workers in India combat stigma to demand rights and health care
April 22, 2010, India -- As the United Nations calls for a greater focus on reproductive health this week, sex workers in India are independently advocating for their often overlooked needs and rights. More…

Law Enforcement Approach to Sex Work Falls Short (SUMMARY)
Apr 2, 2010, SUVA Fiji - In February 2010, Fiji passed a new anti-prostitution degree that creates harsher penalties for ‘crimes’ associated with prostitution. Two months later, and article by the Inter Press Service highlights the criticism leveled against the new decree. More…

Turkey's sex workers seek to establish a union
Hurryet DailyNews, Turkey
Apr 24, 2010, Istanbul – Activists and sex workers in Turkey are working on a project to establish Turkey’s first sex workers union. They are hopeful about finding a solution to their problems and changing society’s approach toward sex workers. More…

Sex workers open school for their children, slum dwellers
Sify news, India
April 26, 2010 -- Sex workers in West Bengal have pooled their resources to set up a primary school for their children as well as those of slum dwellers.
Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, an organisation working for the uplift of sex workers and their families in West Bengal, has built the school at Titagarh in North 24-Parganas district, 30 km away from Kolkata. More…

Exploiting the police uniform (TEASER)
The Independent, Kampala Uganda
17 May 2010 - As a sex worker, Helen not only attracts clients but also is a target for unwanted, and all too frequently violent, attention. The illegal nature of her work causes social and legal alienations which lead her to be doubly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the very people who are sworn to protect her and up hold the inviolability of her person and property granted by the law. More ...

Prostitutes Lodge War Against AIDS (Summary)
AllAfrica Global Media, Uganda
28 April 2010 - Kampala — Uganda's community of prostitutes has long been considered a weak link in the fight against AIDS. Popular opinion holds that most of them are infected with HIV and that they are powerless to play a decisive role in the fight against HIV transmission. 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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