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SWAN News, Issue 9, March 2007

Operation “Butterfly” targets sex workers, hundreds arrested
*National Sex Workers Network Established in Ukraine
*ICRSE greets establishment of the Ukrainian network of sex workers
*Bulgaria: Public debate on legalization of prostitution underway; *Sex workers’ rights group to be established soon
*Poland: Recent study shows women still socially discriminated, knowledge on STI/HIV poor
*Serbia: Exchange of experiences between Serbian and Bulgarian sex work harm reduction groups
*Poland: Report on twelve years of Polish-German cooperation in harm reduction among sex workers broadcasted on ZDF, German National TV channel
WATCH ONLINE: Film about US Aid’s anti-prostitution policies
Crafting a Strong Advocacy Message
About us


Operation “Butterfly” targets sex workers, hundreds arrested
Bishkek, March 2007 -- Police in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, launched in the beginning of March this year a campaign “Butterfly” aiming at „finding disappeared girls, identifying individuals engaged in pimping, individuals practicing commercial sex and avoiding medical examinations, and recruiters of people for sexual exploitation.”

264 people were brought up to police stations ward during the raids. Fifteen underage homeless children were detained and brought to Bishkek Adoption and Rehabilitation Center for Minors. Police is planning to engage specialists from a dermatologic-STI dispensary to undertake compulsory STI and HIV tests among sex workers. Prostitution in Kyrgyzstan is not illegal. More

National Sex Workers Network Established in Ukraine

Kiev, March 2007 –- Representatives of sex workers from fourteen Ukrainian regions established in March 2007 the “All-Ukrainian Sex Workers’ Rights-Protection Network”. The network’s objectives are to fight violation of sex workers’ human rights and to create a supportive environment for improving sex workers’ rights, health, and general position in the Ukrainian society.

During the founding meeting hosted in Kiev on March 13-14 by the All-Ukrainian Harm Reduction Association, SWAN member from Ukraine, seventeen sex workers from the capital and remote regions discussed the structure of the new network, its membership, policy, development, ethics, and other topics. They also studied and discussed the Declaration of Rights of Sex Workers in Europe. More

ICRSE greets establishment of the Ukrainian network of sex workers
“You are not alone! All around the world sex workers are coming together; we are gaining global strength and a united voice and we are saying we will not accept discrimination and social isolation any longer!”

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) has issued a statement on the occasion of the establishment of the All-Ukrainian Sex Workers’ Rights-Protection Network. More

Bulgaria: Public debate on legalization of prostitution underway; Sex workers’ rights group to be established soon
Drafting of a new law on prostitution is underway in Bulgaria and the first version of the law is to be released soon. It is expected to legalize prostitution, define the sites where sex workers can work, and spell out all the requirements as regards working in sex-industry. It is speculated that either there would be the "tolerance zones" or the whole prostitution could be pushed indoor. More


Poland: Recent study shows women still socially discriminated, knowledge on STI/HIV poor
A recent study conducted by TADA, SWAN member from Poland, shows that, irrespective the profession, level of education or place of residence, Polish women encounter more difficulties in social, political, economic and professional life than men. Although most sex workers report to use condoms, the general knowledge of the society on reproductive health and STI/HIV is poor. More

Serbia: Exchange of experiences between Serbian and Bulgarian sex work harm reduction groups
JAZAS, SWAN member from Serbia and HESED, SWAN member from Bulgaria, had an experience exchange and planning meeting in March 2007.

The event was organized in the framework of the POP (Power of Prevention), a three-year project between JAZAS, HESED and STI AIDS Netherlands, that aims to create a supportive environment for improving sex workers’ sexual health and social position and to contribute to public health through the prevention of STI and HIV among sex workers. More

Poland: Report on twelve years of Polish-German cooperation in harm reduction among sex workers broadcasted on ZDF, German National TV channel
On March 8 this year, Polish and German outreach activists got again together to assist sex workers on the streets of the Polish city of Szczecin.

Cooperation between TADA, a SWAN member from Poland, and Abendrot, an HIV prevention team from the city of Anklam in Germany, has been 12 years long. It includes joint training, exchange of education materials, experience, and working methods and skills. Once a month staff members from the two organizations get out to the streets and highways of Szczecin and distribute condoms, lubricants, and education and information materials in Polish, Ukrainian and Russian. More

WATCH ONLINE: Film about US Aid’s anti-prostitution policies
SWAN News have recently been notified by the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network on “Taking the Pledge” , a 13-minute film about the ways the anti-prostitution pledge required for US funds has affected sex workers around the world. The film features interviews with sex workers from Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Mali, Thailand and more.

Watch it online at http://sexworkerspresent.blip.tv

Crafting a Strong Advocacy Message
In this column, SWAN News publishes articles that could 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.

Message in communications is information and reasoning that we are sending to those with whom we want to initiate dialogue and influence their opinions. It is of crucial importance for effective communications to have a clear, short and understandable message.

Crafting a powerful message is of particular importance in advocacy, when our communications aim not only at dialogue and exchange of opinions, but at a visible social change. In this case a good message does not only inform. It has power to convince and lead to action (i.e. introduction of new or change of an existing law, policy change, provision of funds, joining our coalition and taking action such as signing petition, come to a street rally, etc).

In today’s Sex Workers Rights Advocacy School we will look into the advocacy message: what are its elements, and how to craft it. More

The NGO delegation to the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has vacancies for two-year terms beginning 1 January 2008 and ending 31 December 2009, for the following positions: More

“I am anyway paying to the cops so that I could work freely. I would rather pay the state. Then at least my work would count as work experience, I would be socially protected, and the police would have to protect me as a taxpayer.”

-- A sex worker from Kharkov, Ukraine, at the founding meeting of the All-Ukrainian Sex Workers’ Rights-Protection Network, held in March 2007 in Kiev, Ukraine.

Note: 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.

The Leading Article
A new Czech court ruling gave municipalities the right to ban prostitution from public places. The March 8 Constitutional Court decision stated that public prostitution endangers the moral development of children. Towns will be allowed to control prostitution in public places but not in brothels, bars or hotels. The ruling sparked a public discussion, with prevailing voices greeting it and demanding even stronger measures. Bliss without Risk, SWAN member from Czech Republic, was one of the few organizations that claimed that “Expelling the girls out from the cities would expose them to more danger”.

The Prague Post, Czech Republic
Prostitution ban is constitutional
But mayors say national law is still needed to control trade
Prague, 21 March 2007 -- A Czech court ruling giving towns the power to limit prostitution in public places is being knocked by municipalities as a Band-Aid approach to a serious problem that is still not properly addressed by law. Sex for sale, long visible in border towns serving German and Austrian clients, has largely moved indoors but remains as lucrative as ever for brothels, community officials say. More


The Prague Post, Czech Republic
As usual, the Band-Aid approach wins out
Czech politicians are hardly alone in their trepidation when it comes to legislating vice
Prague, 21 March 2007 -- When European Union ministers were fretting that human trafficking would bring prostitutes to World Cup fans last summer, the best protection they managed to come up with was a telephone help line for kidnapped women. Later, a member of the European Parliament suggested a “European Day of Trafficking” be established to raise awareness. More


Darik Radio, Bulgaria
The War of Pimps and Prostitutes in Bulgaria's Seaside Varna
Sofia, 16 February 2007 -- Lately, Bulgaria's interior ministry is fervidly discussing all the possible ways for restricting the prostitution in the country.

It was proposed the prostitutes to work only in the brothels, to pay taxes, to be strictly controlled and so on. Meanwhile, the girls overcrowd the Bulgarian streets, "selling" sex for BGN 30 per hour. There is neither medical, nor police control. More


Atlantic Free Press, Netherlands
Bush’s Foreign Aid Surge: A New Era of Responsibility to Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa or Bush’s Broken Promise?
17 March 2007 -- While most discussion of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy centers around the much maligned invasion of Iraq, the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, and the escalating tension with Iran, only slight attention is usually given by the media and the public to this administration’s policies in Africa concerning the HIV/AIDS crisis. More


Reuters, UK
The Dutch honor their prostitutes (video report)
The world's first statue honoring prostitutes is unveiled in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, 1 April, 2007 -- Red Light District of Amsterdam opened its doors on Saturday, March 31, to a curious crowd, unveiling the world's first statue of a prostitute. A few of its windows, peep-shows and sex-clubs were opened to the public for six consecutive hours, without charge or entrance fee. More


www.dutchamsterdam.nl , The Netherlands
Statue in honor of prostitutes unveiled
Amsterdam’s Red Light District is now home to a bronze statue in honor of prostitutes around the world — the first and only such monument in the world

The photo of the statue can be seen here.
The statue was unveiled during the Red Light District’s 2nd Annual Open Day.

Titled Belle, the monument depicts a full-breasted woman who, feet apart and standing in a doorway at the top of small set of steps, looks self-assuredly into the world. It was created by artist Els Rijerse from Netherlands. More


Indybay, USA:
Sex workers rally in San Francisco
San Francisco, 7 March 2007 -- Sex workers rights groups rallied in San Francisco’s Lower Nob Hill today to oppose the city’s surge in prostitution arrests. US PROStitutes Collective is calling on the city to reallocate funds used to arrest and prosecute prostitutes to social services for poor women. More


Toronto Star, Canada
Sex workers fight 'outdated' law
Toronto, 21 March 2007 -- Sex workers are launching a constitutional challenge of laws that ban bawdy houses, profiting from prostitution and recruiting clients.

The Safe Haven Initiative says the Criminal Code provisions "deny sex workers safe legal options for the conducting of legal business."  More


Wilmington Morning Star, USA
Man sentenced for raping sex workers
Wilmington, 23 March 2007 -- The brutal world inhabited by Wilmington's prostitutes is such that few crimes committed against them are reported. It took two women who work the city's streets, along with another victim, to secure the conviction Thursday of a man who picked them up, assaulted them and forced them to have sex, Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said.  More


Brooks Bulletin, Canada
B.C. prostitutes say sex co-op puts control over industry back in their hands
VANCOUVER, 23 MARCH 2007 -- Tired of unsafe working conditions, the B.C. Coalition of Experiential Women is exploring the idea of starting a sex workers co-operative, where the selling of sex and its accoutrements would be controlled not by the need to pay off drug debts or pimp fees but by the prostitutes themselves. More


Independent Online, UK
Arguments against legalization of prostitution are 'silly'
Cape Town, 20 March 2007 -- The time for silly arguments about the decriminalization of prostitution is long past, the Treatment Action Campaign said on Monday, as it threw its weight behind a proposal to legitimize sex workers as a way to fight HIV and Aids. More

News24, South Africa
Legal prostitution will help
Johannesburg, 18 March 2007 - A plan to legalize prostitution forms part of the recommendations of the new HIV/Aids plan to ensure that new HIV infections are reduced by 50% by 2011. The new plan was launched this week. It has identified the criminalization of sex workers as a hindrance to the curbing of the pandemic. More

AllAfrica.com, USA
Rwanda: Sex workers appeal to government for support
Kamembe, 15 March 2007 -- Over 40 sex-workers who were on March 11 rounded up from Kamembe Town in Rusizi District, are asking the Government for financial support to start up income-generating activities.

The sex-workers were rounded up from entertainment places of Ten to Ten Paradise Hotel, Isimbi Lodge, Kukabasazi and Kuryakane by a police patrol unit at midnight. More

Afrol News, Norway
42 Gambian sex workers jailed
Afrol News, 12 March -- Arrested and detained on the eve of this year's international women's day, 42 Gambian sex workers were automatically excluded from the celebrations. And to add salt to their injury, the courts jailed them to serve a week in prison for violating section 167 of the Criminal Code, which outlaws vagabond and roguish life. More

Kaiser Network, USA
India launches program to distribute female condoms to sex workers
Kaiser News, 16 March 2007 -- The Indian government, in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Organization and Hindustan Latex, on Wednesday launched a program to provide female condoms to commercial sex workers nationwide, IANS/India eNews reports. The program will provide 500,000 female condoms by June. More

Sun2Surf, Malaysia
Tax from prostitutes? No thanks, says Indian state
Kolkata, 2 March 2007 -- An Indian state today rejected a proposal by prostitutes to pay tax to the government in return for stopping police raids on brothels and checks on soliciting clients. Officials in the eastern state of West Bengal said since prostitution was illegal, the government could not tax sex workers. More

All Headline News, USA
Australian survey: legal prostitutes enjoy high 'job satisfaction'
Brisbane, Australia, 3 March 2007 -- Australian prostitutes, who legally sell sex in brothels enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction than those who work illegally, selling sex on the streets or in their home, a new survey suggests. More

StarBulletin.com, Hawaii
Prostitution bill gains support
13 February 2007 -- A bill to legalize some prostitution in the islands has the backing of at least 14 state lawmakers and many women's rights advocates. More


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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. More

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