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SWAN News, Issue 12, Year 2, June 2007

FOCUS ON: UNAIDS guidance on HIV and sex work
The UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work was first made available in April 2007.
The document immediately faced protests and criticism from wider civil society including sex workers organisations around the world, who pointed out that the Note was contrary to evidence-based and rights-based approaches to HIV prevention and treatment among sex workers, did not meet GIPA principles, and contradicted UNAIDS own Policy Position Paper on Intensifying HIV Prevention. More

Sex workers respond to UNAIDS Guidance on Sex Work
The enclosed response to UNAIDS Guidance on Sex Work, signed by the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) and Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (ASNPW), was further supported by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, International Council of AIDS Service Organizations, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS. UNESCO, one of the UNAIDS "Co-Sponsors" (UN system organisations that make up UNAIDS), didn't sign on to the Note. In the response document, sex workers say they „will not assist in its implementation and will be bound to promote and publicise global opposition of sex workers to it.”
Read the Statement
UNAIDS Guidance Note, HIV and Sex Work, April 2007the integral text



Russia: Sex worker comes out of closet at a round table in Moscow, in front of government officials, media and UNAIDS representatives
“I really couldn’t and didn’t want to keep silent any more. I stood up and spoke up. I revealed my sex worker status and explained why we need support, how we can help the state and why our voice should be heard.” More

Bulgaria: Sex workers and government officials discuss impending prostitution law
HESED, SWAN member from Bulgaria, organized on May 31 in Sofia a round table to discuss the impending prostitution law. The organizers hoped to answer the significant public interest caused by the legislation, and in the same time enhance the dialogue and let the sex workers’ voice being heard. That will hopefully result in improved quality of the new legislation. More

Macedonia: Second generation HIV/AIDS surveillance – one sex worker pollster
Second generation surveillance on HIV/AIDS started in Macedonia in June 2007. Coordinated by the National Institute for Health Protection, the project has several governmental and non governmental organizations as its participants. The target groups of this study, financially supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), are sex workers, injecting drug users, man who have sex with man, prisoners, patients with sexually transmissible infections, and general youth. More

Slovakia: Sex workers take part in Global AIDS Week of Action
Week between 20th and 26th of May was declared by World AIDS campaign as a Global AIDS Week of Action. For the first time ever, Odyseus, SWAN member from Slovakia joined this year the action by issuing seven different articles and press releases about HIV. They were sent to mainstream newspapers, TV, radio and agencies. One of the articles was devoted to sex workers and HIV, still a controversial topic in Slovakia. More

Bulgaria: International HIV/AIDS day marked in Sofia
Marking International Day for support of people affected by the HIV/AIDS – HESED, SWAN member from Bulgaria, together with several other NGOs and some governmental organizations, organized in May two big events in the capital of Bulgaria – planting a ribbon out of red roses, and candle vigil. More

SWAN Scholarship: Correlation Network, September 2007, Sofia
Scholarships for sex workers are available for the conference Social Inclusion and Health - Crossing the Borders organized by the Correlation Network on 28 – 30 September 2007 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Deadline for applications is July 11. More

Russia: Crisis center for single mothers opened in Sankt Petersburg
“Crisis Apartment”, a temporary refuge for pregnant women and mothers with infants, was officially opened in St-Petersburg in June 2007. It had been working unofficially since April and had already had several clients. More

Macedonia: VCCT week in Drop-in Center for sex workers, Laura Feer party
In order to promote Voluntary Counseling and Confidential Testing (VCCT) among sex workers, their partners and clients, HOPS, SWAN member from Macedonia, organized in the beginning of June one-week promotional campaign that ended with a drag-queen show promoting condom use. 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.

In today’s Sex Workers Rights Advocacy School we will talk about the symbol of the movement for the rights of sex workers: the Red Umbrella.

The Red Umbrella: History in the making

The red umbrella was used by sex workers of Venice, Italy in 2001 as a symbol of beauty and the resistance to humans' and sky's attacks, red. On the occasion of the Venice Biennale in 2001 they walked the streets together out and proud. While the red umbrella started as a simple idea, it is quickly becoming an international symbol for the rights of sex workers. More

„I think the best strategy is to agree with everything. To obey. To look like a passive obeying women. Not to resist but then to escape at the first good opportunity. A customer can be the best help to escape.”

-- Jana, former sex worker from Czech Republic who had been trafficked into physical and sex work, in an interview to SWAN News, answering a question what would be her advise to people in the sex trade who are trafficked or being abused.


„Nothing about us without us” is a message repeated more often then ever before by sex workers around the world. This new column in the SWAN News fills that gap: it gives space to sex workers from the region to express their opinions, tell us about their lives, problems and dreams. The column is edited by Anna-Louise Crago, sex worker and advocate for sex workers’ human rights. Contributions are welcome: write to annalouisecrago@gmail.com .

This month’s Sex Workers’ Report visited Bliss without Risk, SWAN member from Czech Republic.

I wonder if the police are not friends of the mafia
An interview with Jana from Bliss without Risk about sex work, trafficking and the important role customers can play in escaping traffickers

Jana, please tell us a bit about you.
Jana: I grew up with my grandmother but she kicked me out of the home for some stupidity. I had job but nowhere to live. I met a man and he offered that I could go work as a sex worker. More

Rulling of the Czech Constitutional Court endangeres sex workers’ lives
Hana Malinova and Jana from Bliss without Risk respond to new bans on street prostitution in the Czech Republic
On March 8, 2007 the Czech Constitutional Court ruled that municipalities have the right to ban prostitution from public places. Stating the dangers that prostitution poses to the “moral development of children”, the decision allows cities and towns in the Czech Republic to ban street prostitution but does not ban prostitution in brothels, bars or hotels. Hana Malinova from Bliss without Risk believes the move is discriminatory and dangerous. More

On opera, girl who has money, and being used by beer
Bliss without Risk’s 15-year anniversary carnival:a medley of musical theatre and dance
On Friday the 13th of April this year, Bliss without Risk celebrated its 15-year anniversary by organizing a big event. The festivities happened at a location overlooking the river Vltava and the National Theatre, with a beautiful view during sunset. More

TRAINING: Advanced Human Rights Summer School in Russian language
Application deadline July 22! Human rights Summer School in Russian language, in Warswa, Poland. More

GRANTS: Marek Nowicki Small Grants Fund
Open Society Institute, Budapest and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Warsaw issue this call for proposals for the graduates of HFHR human rights skills training courses. More

In recognition of the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948, Warsaw's Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights hosts WATCH DOCS - Human Rights in Film. Submissions deadline is August 31, 2007. More


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.

News 24, South Africa
Punish clients of prostitutes
Vatican City, 19 June 2007 -- The Vatican urged nations on Tuesday to pass laws to curb the "modern slavery" of prostitution, to protect women from violence, and punish clients. More

Bay Area Indymedia, USA
5th San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival
San Francisco, 18 June, 2007 -- The San Francisco Sex Workers Festival was established in 1999. This year the response from sex workers has been greater than ever before. More

Lifesite, USA
Mexico City pushes for legalized prostitution
Capital is now the most liberal city in Latin America
Mexico City, June 14, 2007 – The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR), the ruling party of the Mexico City Federal District, submitted a bill on Tuesday that would make prostitution legal within Mexico City. More

BBC News - UK
Health care 'fails' sex workers
Women working on the street have different needs to those in brothels
14 June 2007 -- Women working as prostitutes in brothels and on the street are being failed by the health service provision on offer, researchers have found.
Scientists at Cardiff University interviewed 71 women working in brothels in Bristol for the study. More

NZZ Online, Switzerland
Police crack down on east European prostitutes
14. June 2007 -- A women's advice group says a crackdown by the Zurich authorities on sex workers from Eastern Europe will force them out of controlled brothels and onto the streets. More

Rabble.ca, Canada
Sex work: the charter v. the criminal code
12 June, 2007 -- With very little chance a federal Conservative government will change sex worker legislation, a group has come together to take the Criminal Code to court. More

AllAfrica.com, USA
Sierra Leone: Clinic for 40 commercial sex workers
12 June 2007 -- Sierra Leone Distance Education Program (SILDEP) in collaboration with National AIDS Secretariat and Kenema City Council last week organized a two-day workshop for 40 Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) in Kenema. More

almaty.kz, Kazakhstan
Action against street prostitution in Kazakhstan
Almaty, 7 June, 2007 -- Начальник управления дорожной полиции Алматы Бакыткельды Айхимбеков заявил, что правоохранительным органам города удалось ликвидировать места сбора "жриц любви" на улицах Саина и Сейфуллина. More

Monsters and Critics.com, Scotland
Hong Kong vice cops accused of being too intimate with prostitutes
Hong Kong, 4 Jun, 2007 -- Prostitute Jo remembers vividly the face of her last client. A stocky round-faced 40-year-old, he seemed nervous and distracted when he arrived at her dingy Kowloon apartment. More

Inter Press Service, Italy
Russia: More Funding, But HIV/AIDS on the Rise
Moscow, 3 Jun -- Russia's HIV infection rate continues to rise -- most notably in the heterosexual and non-drug-using populations -- despite steady increases in funds to fight the disease. Experts and medical researchers say dramatic changes in sexual attitudes and behaviour are essential if the trend is to be reversed. More

Brisbane Times, Australia
Sex workers in discrimination protest
Sydney, 3 June, 2007 -- Sex workers gathered under red umbrellas at the Sydney Opera House today but they were demanding a different form of cover - new anti-discrimination legislation. More

Independent Online, South Africa
Sex workers of the world, untie!
Cape town, 2 June, 2007 -- With singer Afrikaans crooner Natanial and butch former Springbok James Small now united as victims of the "slander" that they paid a male hooker for sex, it is time to look behind the skinner at our troubled morality regarding the oldest game in town. More

The Monitor, Uganda
Free treatment for sex workers in place
Kampala, 3 July, 2007 -- Family Planning Association of Uganda has launched a two-year project for the prevention and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases among young people, especially prostitutes. More

The Nation Newspaper, Barbados
Include them, says Sir George
Michel, 29 June, 2007 -- A call by Sir George Alleyne for religious inclusion of homosexuals and commercial sex workers by churches, jarred more than 100 church leaders into a consciousness-raising exercise yesterday. More

Economic Times, India
Banks open doors to the less privileged
Mumbai, 27 June, 2007 -- Beggars, commercial sex workers and tribals are the new class of customers targeted by private and foreign banks. Banks have started lending to these client groups, through self help groups (SHGs), so that they could set up their own businesses. A host of private sector and foreign banks, who have recently been aggressively beefing up their MFI operations, are targeting the lowest strata of the community. More

The Age, Australia
Brothel laws 'will lead to corruption'
Melbourne, 26 June, 2007 -- New laws giving NSW councils greater powers to crack down on illegal brothels could lead to more corruption in the industry, sex workers claim.
Prostitutes, massage parlour workers and their supporters protested outside NSW Parliament as the Brothels Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced into the upper house.
The proposed laws passed the lower house last week. More

Argentine prostitutes fight back
Buenos Aires, 24 June, 2007 -- Prostitutes in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, have launched a campaign to raise awareness about the difficult circumstances in which they work.
They have renamed one of the major parks in the city Prostitutes' Plaza and a book has been launched about abuse and exploitation.
The women have been marching and handing out condoms.
It is part of a national campaign to admit prostitution exists and provide better security for women involved. More

Times of India, India
Sex workers want Taj Mahal in Seven Wonders list
Muzaffarpur, 24 June, 2007 -- Sex workers in a Bihar town are campaigning for the Taj Mahal's inclusion into the new "seven wonders of the world" list by asking people to cast their vote for the monument of love. More

The Daily News, Canada
Maritime prostitutes call for legalization
Halifax, 22 June, 2007 -- Jeffrey, and New Brunswick academic Gayle MacDonald, interviewed 60 sex-trade workers from Saint John, Moncton and Halifax to create a portrait of prostitutes' lives in their own words. Both men and women in such diverse walks of life as exotic dancers, escorts and street prostitutes spoke to the two academics. More

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.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 and Central Asia. More

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