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SWAN News, Issue 5, Year 1, October 2006

*Service Center for Sex Workers in Kazan: A New Avant-Garde From the Heart of Russia

*Sex Work in Albania – an Overview
*Prostitution Legalization in Albania! Would it Really Help?

*Kazan Experiences Shared With Colleagues From 10 Regions in Russia
*Declaration of the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe Now *Available in Macedonian
*Seminar on Sex Wok for Police in Slovakia
*SWAN News Become an International Source


About us


Service Center for Sex Workers in Kazan: A New Avant-Garde From the Heart of Russia

A recently established service center in Kazan is at the moment the only institution in Russia providing anonymous and free complex medical, psychological and social assistance to sex workers

Exclusively for SWAN News by Lilia Taisheva and Nebojsa Radic

KAZAN, RUSSIA, October 2006 – Kazan, the capital of the autonomous Russian republic of Tatarstan, and its inhabitants have many reasons to be proud. Kazan is one of the largest economic, scientific, cultural centers and ancient cities of Russia. Situated some 800 kilometers to the east from Moscow, on the edge of Siberia, it has a long and rich history dating back to the Middle Age and the time of the Volga Bulgars. In the beginning of the 19th century Kazan State University (KSU) and Printing Press were founded here by Alexander I. Among others, Lobachevsky, the founder of the non-Euclidic geometry studied at KSU and was it rector from 1827 to 1846. Lev Tolstoy and Alexander Pushkin, who both lived and wrote here, immortalized the city which lays on the intersection of eastern and western cultures and boasts some of Russia's oldest architectural masterpieces. Music lovers will know that Fyodor Chaliapin was born here, and that one of the greatest 20-th century dancers, the ballet genius Rudolf Xämätulı Nureyev was Tatar.

In 2005, when Kazan celebrated its millennium, several outstanding events put the city again into the Russian media and on the world map. The 200th anniversary of the founding of the KSU was introduced into the UNESCO anniversaries list for 2004-2005. A single metro line with five stations was opened and the largest mosque in Russia, Qolsharif, was inaugurated in the city center. But the establishment of the Service Center Simona - providing anonymous and free complex medical, psychological and social assistance to sex workers – was a single event that made the city an avant-garde in dealing with contemporary social and public health issues in Russia. More


Sex Work in Albania – an Overview

Sex Work is illegal in Albania. The Penal Code anticipates a punishment varying from a simple fine up to three years of detention for persons practicing commercial sex.

Excerpt from a study made by the Albanian Institute for Public Health and Aksion Plus, SWAN Member from Albania, on sex work situation in this South-East European country. Edited by SWAN News

Sex work is a relatively new phenomenon in Albania, dating from the early nineties. According to some reports from Albanian police and juridical system, almost 70% of female sex workers in and from this country have been dragged into the business forcibly and/or by fraud, through marriages “for a better life” abroad. Trafficked are usually girls from rural areas, from families with very difficult financial situation. Trafficking is managed by organized crime syndicates whose interests are spread across Europe. Although the fight of the state against human trafficking has been more effective in the recent years, partly due to the better international cooperation with the specialized bodies in the receiving countries, human trafficking for sex work is still considered the most “lucrative” crime, and Albania became one of the traffic routes from ex Soviet Union countries towards Western Europe.

Not all sex workers are trafficked. Sex work is a free choice of those sex workers who engage in the business as a result of the very difficult economical situation in the country. More

Prostitution Legalization in Albania! Would it Really Help?
This article is taken from the website of the Media Diversity Institute,
The easiest way to get rid of the human suffering inherent in sex trafficking is to recognize the world's oldest profession and legalize it, according to some Albanian legal authorities.
In one American state, Nevada, the home of Las Vegas, prostitution is legal in state inspected brothels. Amsterdam has long been known for its Red Light district featuring the famous girls in the picture windows displaying their bodies for sale.

Could legalization work in Albania…again? More

Sex Work vs. Trafficking – What is the Difference?

In this new column, SWAN News will publish articles that should be helpful to the 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, create an effective message and get it across? Please send us your comments, suggestions and contributions.

Today we will talk about trafficking vs. sex work. Some people use the term ‘trafficking’ to describe sex work. What is really the difference between trafficking and sex work? Following is an excerpt from the recently published SWAN Media and Advocacy Manual. The integral text of the Manual can be downloaded here in English and Russian.

• Sex work is a type of work. Trafficking on the other hand, is a type of migration.
• Trafficking is related to debt-bondage, slavery-like conditions, forced labor and confinement. Sex work is result of free will and personal choice.
• Sex workers decide for variety of reasons to join the trade. They are not always coerced in to it.
• Sex work is a job. Sexual exploitation is a violent crime.
• Sex workers are workers. Victims of crime are plaintiffs.
• Sex work is just one specific job. Trafficking is the moving of people using deceit, force or coercion in order to benefit from their forced labor or exploitation.
• People are trafficked into all kinds of jobs e.g. domestic work, factory work, seafarers, agriculture, construction workers, military service etc – not only into sex work.
• Trafficking is a global social problem not a problem sex workers should be responsible for solving alone. More


Kazan Experiences Shared With Colleagues From 10 Regions in Russia

On October 5-6, 2006, 30 representatives of governmental and civil society organizations - regional projects directors, outreach workers and trusted doctors, working on various projects with sex workers in 10 regions of the Russian Federation, took part in the program “HIV/AIDS prevention among individuals, providing paid sex services” in Kazan, the capital of the autonomous Russian republic of Tatarstan. Among them was a representative of Siberian Initiative, SWAN Member from Russia.

The colleagues from the Kazan-based Service Center Simona shared their experience in organization and implementation of prevention programs, creation of a network of trusted specialists, development of inter-departmental and inter-sectoral collaboration, and on development of medical and psychological service for sex workers. (See the article about the Service Center Simona at the top of this issue of the SWAN News).

The study tour and the seminar were organized by AIDS Infoshare Russia, which is a part of the Infoshare International, http://www.spiral.com/infoshare/newsletterInfoshare.html. The event was initiated in the framework of the Russian National Priority Project in the healthcare sphere.

Contact person: Alexey Starostenko, Siberian Initiative, Barnaul, Russia
E-mail: sibin@alt.ru
About Siberian Initiative
Website: http://www.sibin.ru

Declaration of the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe Now Available in Macedonian

Declaration of the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, one of the cornerstone documents on human rights for sex workers, adopted by more then 200 delegates participating at the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration held 15 to 17 October 2005 in the European Parliament in Brussels, is now available in Macedonian, thanks to the HOPS, SWAN Member from Macedonia. The document, about which SWAN News wrote in the Issue 4, and which was already available in Russian and Slovakian, is currently being translated by SWAN members into the additional Central and Eastern European and Central Asian languages. The existing translations of the Declaration are available on the website of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE, www.sexworkeurope.org). The main goal of the Committee is to bring sex workers and their allies together on an international level so to further the social acceptance and respect for sex workers, to guarantee their civil rights, and to facilitate communication and advocacy against oppressive laws.

Seminar on Sex Wok for Police in Slovakia

In October 2006, C.A. Odyseus, SWAN member from Slovakia, organized its second educational workshop on sex work issues for the police representatives. The topic was Human Rights for Sex Workers. Although representatives of ten different magisterial precincts for state and metropolitan police in the city of Bratislava were invited, there were only two participants from the departments of prevention.
Says Mgr. Ľubica Tornóczyová: “Our first seminar organized in 2005, entitled Introduction to the Sex-Business and Sexuality of Roma People, had much more participants. In order to bust attendance in the following years, we might have to make arrangements with the Ministry of Interior and get their endorsement. We might make the seminar titles different so that they better fit the police agenda - understanding sex work, prevention of crime, avoiding illegal action against sex workers or similar, while human rights can be included in that broader frame. We might decide to exchange speakers with other SWAN members – people like seminars in which foreign experts are participating.”
All the participants received a personal copy of the Declaration of the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe. Seminars proved to be effective not only in developing understanding of sex work issues, but also in developing better cooperation and personal contacts within the police departments.

Contact person: Mgr. Ľubica Tornóczyová, Odyseus, Bratislava
E-mail: lubica.tornoczyova@centrum.cz
About Odyseus
Website: www.ozodyseus.sk

SWAN News Become an International Source

Over the past five months, since its inception, the SWAN News has been posted or partly quoted by several civil society portals and websites. Every issue is regularly being linked from the websites of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE, www.sexworkeurope.org) and the Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights Program of the Open Society Institute (SHARP, http://www.soros.org/initiatives/health/focus/sharp). Recently, German Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights republished a SWAN News story on the establishment of the National Network for the Rights of Sex Workers in Lithuania – see here. The group was founded April 29, 2004 in Berlin and has committed itself to the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP) in Cairo in 1994. The central objective of the program is the sustained fight against poverty in developing countries with a main focus on the situation of women and girls in the world. The demand for sexual and reproductive health and rights lies at the heart of the program.

Several individuals and organizations have approached SWAN News to consider the recent initiative of the Government of South Africa to criminalize purchase of sex services. We decided to publish the appeal by the Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP, www.nswp.org) as the most comprehensive one, and to offer our readers to join it. The appeal gives the proposed legislative language, name and email address of the person to whom the appeal should be sent (Mrs. Fatima Chohan-Kota, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Justice Committee of South Africa), and the text of the letter which can be signed and sent to her address. More


Note: For the 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.

The Leading Article:

Starting from today, each issue of the SWAN News will publish one Leading Article which will be provided integrally both in Russian and English, as opposed to the other news pieces which are translated only partly. The Leading Article mirrors the ongoing trends, global or regional debates about prostitution, give an insight into the human rights for sex workers or takes into the focus other developments important for the sex workers’ community.

Deutsche Welle International, Germany:
Europe mulls standard way to deal with prostitution

The Council of Europe is looking for ways to standardize laws on prostitution on the continent. But not everyone is in favor of legalizing the oldest profession in the world.

BERLIN, 29 September, 2006 -- Prostitution is colloquially called "the oldest profession in the world," but its legalities are still debated. Throughout Europe, especially in eastern European counties, it is a contested issue. In Ukraine and Albania, people are not permitted to sell their bodies, and the men and women who do are tracked down and punished.

Sweden approaches prostitution very differently: only the customers of prostitutes are punished. France, Belgium, England and other nations have completely done away with laws regulating prostitution. Prostitutes live in the shadows of society in those nations; procuration, however, is against the law.

In Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and in some regions of Spain and Greece, prostitution has been legalized and regulated during the past few years. In these countries, prostitutes of both sexes are now called "sex workers." More

ForUm, Ukraine:
A brothel may be opened in Ukraine

Prostitution exists anyway, and one brothel may revenue 300 thousand dollars per month – say supporters of legalization of prostitution in Ukraine
KIEV, 26 October 2006 -- Activists of several nongovernmental organizations addressed Kyiv council with a request to allocate a lot for building the first brothel in Ukraine. According to those who advocate the project, legalization of prostitution may help filling state budget. More

REGNUM News, Ukraine:
Revenue of Ukrainian budget could be increased by legalizing prostitution
16 October 2006, Kiev -- Kiev police chief Vitaly Yarema believes, if prostitution is legalized in Ukraine, both revenue of state budget and quality of services will increase; he is quoted as stating it in Kiev. According to him, commercial firms of the sphere should exist in Ukraine; minors will be forbidden to go there; the places will be inspected by tax and medical institutions and guarded in appropriate way. More

Epoch Times, New York, USA:
Over 10 million sex workers estimated in China

HONG KONG, 20 October, 2006 — Prostitution has become the number one cause for the increasingly rapid spread of AIDS in China. Facing a rapidly growing sex industry, China's present legal system is unable to eliminate prostitution. The controversial attempts at safe sex education for prostitutes may help reduce the further spread of AIDS in China. …During two People's Congress Conferences this year, over 20 representatives from Heilongjiang Province co-proposed a proposal to legalize prostitution. The proposal included the building of a red-light district in the city and offering "misses" regular physical exams. The proposal was defeated.

Kaiser Network, Washington DC, USA:
HIV/AIDS education classes for commercial sex workers in China cause Controversy
17 October, 2006 -- A lecture in Harbin, China, led by the Harbin Municipal Disease Prevention and Control Center that informed commercial sex workers about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections has "sparked a strong rebuke" from some authorities and residents. The session allowed the sex workers to discuss their occupation openly. After the lecture, organizers distributed boxes of condoms at no cost to the participants and gave them the center's phone number. The Beijing News reported that local police called the lecture "unacceptable". More

Lifesite, Niagara Falls, USA:
British Government proposes to de-criminalize brothels in Northern Ireland
BELFAST, 18 October, 2006– British lawmakers are claiming that changes to the sex offences law proposed for Northern Ireland, will “strengthen” existing laws and provide “protection to young and vulnerable adults.” However, opponents of human trafficking and the ‘sex trade’ warn the government proposals will decriminalize brothels and further the exploitation of women, especially immigrants, in prostitution. More

ABC Regional Online, Australia:
Sex workers call for task force consultation
Sydney, 2 October, 2006 -- Australia's sex worker industry has cautiously welcomed moves to establish a joint government task force to help combat sex slavery and trafficking. In a verbal statement, the group representing the country's sex industry community, Scarlet Alliance, has welcomed the formation of a joint committee between the Commonwealth and the states. But alliance manager Janelle Fawkes says the industry needs to be actively involved in the discussions. More

Patna Daily, India:
Report on crime lodged against policeman for assaulting sex workers
PATNA, 6 October, 2006 -- An NGO in Patna on Thursday filed a case against a policeman for assaulting a number of prostitutes when the women refused to pay hush money to the cop, officials in Patna said. According to the NGO director, the police in question rounded up the prostitutes operating in a station area and demanded money to look the other way as they solicit clients during the Durga Puja. More


Research for Sex Work 9 is now available online from http://www.researchforsexwork.org. This year's theme is sex work and money, with articles on funding restrictions, contributions to development, access to life-saving medicines, and more. If you would like to receive a hard copy, please send your address including your country to editor@researchforsexwork.org. Research for Sex Work is produced by the Network of Sex Work Projects. http://www.nswp.org


Dear readers,
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 mass-mailing 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 and/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@snowflake.hu.
Thank you.
The Editor

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About us
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, CIS and South-East Europe.

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