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Sex workers’ community and allies take active part in IAC

(Extracts from the Smart Sex Workers’ Guide by NSWP)
From 18 to 23 July 2010, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), together with allies brought together representatives from nearly 40 countries to take part in the NSWP pre-conference and the actual IAC 2010. More…

With red umbrellas that were visible at plenary, in sessions, on stage and at protests throughout the week, sex workers demanded that donors, governments, policy makers, researchers, and other key players recognize and support the human rights of sex workers.
IAC 2010 had taken on the promotion and protection of human rights as central conference theme “Rights Here, Right Now” to emphasize the right to dignity and self-determination, to equal access to health care and to life-saving health programs.
In line with this focus, the NSWP had adopted the slogan “Only rights can stop the wrongs” to call for the recognition of sex workers’ rights as human rights.

Awards for sex work projects
The Conference also served to recognize the work done by different organizations across the world.

The 2010 International Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights
HOPS, the Healthy Options Project Skopje of Macedonia was the 2010 recipient of this international Award, which recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. In 2009 HOPS produced a video, “You must know about me,” used in advocacy activities. (Read more in the Network News section below).

The Red Ribbon Award
The 2010 Red Ribbon Award, which celebrates community leadership and action on AIDS, recognized three sex worker organizations as doing exemplary work to end the AIDS epidemic in their communities.
The Red Ribbon Award 2010 was awarded to:

NIKAT Women’s Association is the first community-based association in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that is devoted to improving the living conditions of low-income women and commercial sex workers, thereby fighting poverty and protecting the right to health.

Other groups which were nominated and received regional awards were:

Chrysalide operates a centre of support for women with HIV, drug users, sex workers and ex-prisoners, and has through HIV prevention and sensitization programs reduced stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV in communities throughout Mauritius.

Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices de la Argentina (AMMAR) is a network of 15.000 sex workers in Argentina that has successfully advocated for the adoption of municipal ordinances to protect and promote the rights of sex workers.

Sex workers’ participation in figures
There were a total of 190 posters related directly or indirectly to sex work and AIDS. They were exhibited in Hall B of the Conference site. The content of the posters were related to experiences or projects in different areas around the world. Here is their thematic distribution according to the NSWP regions:

There were 32 different conference sessions related to sex work, including abstract presentations, poster discussions and workshops.

There were 24 activities related to sex work in the Global Village, including film screenings, performances, workshops, presentations and a fashion show.

There were 11 activities that were carried out in the networking zone, including film screenings, discussions and performances.

To increase sex workers’ visibility at the conference, the sex work related booths (2 marketplace booths, 6 NGO exhibition booths, 1 networking zone) were organized in one area of the Global Village creating a little “red light district” that highlighted sex workers demands.

Read more in The Smart Sex Worker’s Guide to IAC on the official NSWP website here.