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SWAN News, Issue 16, Year 3, January 2008

SWAN member from Kazakhstan under surveillance; authorities question street action on December 17

SWAN campaign held on December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, triggered an action by the Kazakh authorities against SWAN member from this Central Asian country. More

Send a letter of support to Kovcheg
Put the enclosed letter on your organization's letterhead, print it out, sign and fax on +7 7282 272 067. More

Obscene joke against sex workers in Kazakhstan newspaper
The article that infuriated the authorities in the Kazakh Taldikorgan region was published in the newspaper Liter. Ending with an obscene joke that makes rude fun of sex workers, the article infuriated many readers who left comments in the discussion column, on the paper’s website. The article in Russian Sex Workers’ Rally, Sir as well as readers’ comments are available here.


Macedonia: Sex-workers self-support group established - a Star is born
A group of sex workers from Skopje, capital of Macedonia, established in January this year an informal organization called the Star.
The group will represent interests of sex workers in Macedonia, fight for their human rights, and liaison with similar organizations abroad. HOPS, SWAN member from Macedonia, supports the Star by providing office and meeting space. More


Bulgaria: Fifth annual national meeting of NGOs working with sex workers
Eight NGOs working with sex workers in Bulgaria participated at the fifth annual meeting held in city of Hisaria between December 6 and 10. Among them HESED, SWAN member from Bulgaria. More

Drop-in center closes in Slovakia
After 4 years of existence, Klub Podchod (The Underground Club), the only low threshold club for sex workers in Slovakia, is now closed. The establishment, run by Odyseus, SWAN member from Slovakia, was closed on November 28, with a good-bye party for all those who wanted to visit it for the last time. More

Drop-in center to open in Serbia
JAZAS, SWAN member from Serbia is entering 2008 with two new projects that will contribute to expansion of services for sex workers in Serbia. The first one is SHE Project - Support, Health and Enviroment, a grant from Open Society Institute that will include opening of a drop-in center. More

Albania: Round table on human rights for sex workers
Aksion Plus, SWAN member from Albania, is preparing a Round Table with some of the main actors in the field of human rights (both governmental and non-governmental) focusing on sex work in Albania. More

Video: Humanitarian Action, Russia
Humanitarian Action, SWAN member from Russia has recently posted two short video films on You Tube. One is about regular police raids against brothels and the other about the campaign Humantiarian Action organized in Sankt Petersburg on December 17 last year. 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 this issue we will talk about low threshold, drop-in centers for sex workers. How to establish them? Where to start from? What are the problems you can encounter? We spoke with Marija Toseva from Healthy Option Skopje (HOPS), SWAN member from Macedonia. Last year HOPS opened the first drop-in center in Macedonia and South East Europe. 
Drop-in Center: Experiences from Macedonia
Maria Tosheva, Director of Program for Support to SW in the Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS), SWAN member from Macedonia, shares with SWAN News her experiences in planning, opening and running the first drop-in center for sex workers in Macedonia.
“Before opening the drop-in center, we prepared a needs assessment that identified basic services that the center needed to offer.
It is very important to have a decision on that before you start searching for proper premises. More

Support available for sex workers’ participation at AIDS 2008
APROASE Mexico and the Network of Sex Work Projects, with support from OSI, is encouraging and coordinating the participation of male, transgender and female sex workers, sex work projects, advocates and networks in the International AIDS Conference which will take place in Mexico City from 3-8 August 2008. More

Call for Applications: 19th International Summer School on Human Rights
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights is organizing the 19th International Summer School on Human Rights in Warsaw-Miedzeszyn, Poland, between 21 and 28 June 2008. Closing date for the Summer School applications is 20 February 2008. More on who can apply and the application form available here.


Call for nominations: Biennial Red Ribbon Award on Community Leadership and Action on AIDS
The biennial Red Ribbon Award: Celebrating Community Leadership and Action on AIDS, is a partnership initiative between the UNAIDS family and the Leadership and
This international award will honor exceptional grassroots leadership in responding to the AIDS epidemic and will be presented at the XVII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008), to be held in Mexico City, from 3-8 August 2008. More

Call for partnership: relief and community development
BuildaBridge International seeks collaborations with organizations and artists involved in relief and community development around the world. More

„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 provides an opportunity for 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
We are just as much citizens as everyone else
In part 1 of 2 of our special focus on Ukrainian sex workers, we present the following interview with Elena a sex worker, social worker, and newspaper editor from Kiev. More
Durjoy Nari Shangha Lead Organization for implementing a GFATM
Durjoy Nari Shangha, a sex worker's organization based in Bangladesh signed an agreement as Lead Organization of a consortium of 8 organizations for implementing GFATM (The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria). More

In the Issue 15 of SWAN News, devoted to December 17 campaign to stop violence against sex workers, we reported about the activities NGO Tada organized in Poland and quoted Justyna Sobeyko as a “professor at the University of Warsaw”. We apologize to Justyna Sobeyko who actually teaches at the Pomerania Medical University in Szczecin. 

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.

Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa
Choice or force?
January 14, 2008 -- Although abolitionists insist trafficking and prostitution are the same, the experiences of those in prostitution suggest they are not. Yes, they are linked and, yes, girls and women are tricked, forced and sold into prostitution, just as they are trafficked into domestic work and marriage. But women don’t get into prostitution only via trafficking. They often get into it to earn a living. More

AlterNet - San Francisco, USA
Women and men working in sex industries utilize technology to fight for their rights
January 2008 -- Sex workers have been using technology both to enhance their work lives and to organize as a movement. For example, sex workers used listservs, blogs, and online video to address the scandal involving Randall Tobias. The administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tobias had enforced the policy requiring that U.S.-based groups working to fight trafficking and HIV/AIDS overseas denounce prostitution in order to receive funding. But in 2007 news broke of Tobias’ own personal association with an escort service. Although he denied ever having sex with the women he hired, he resigned. More

The Canadian Press
Suburban sex-trade workers more vulnerable than those in city: former prostitute
VANCOUVER, January 13, 2008 -- Suburban prostitutes are more vulnerable to attack or even murder because of a lack of support services compared with their big-city counterparts, says a former sex-trade worker who once strolled the streets of small-town British Columbia. More

Deccan Herald, India
The autobiography of a sex worker
January 13, 2008 -- Nalini’s voice is strong and unrepentant, that of a woman who knows what she is doing and not that of a victim forced into the trade through guile. Though she initially took up the trade as a young widow to feed her two children, in later life she tries to find dignity in the work she does. For her sex work is a profession like any other. And if it paid better than, say, domestic work, why not opt for it, is her argument. More

Chicago Tribune, United States
'Freakonomics' researcher examines Chicago's sex trade
January 11, 2008 -- A two-year study of the economics of prostitution in Chicago found the women were forced to service police officers, worked more during holidays like July 4th and varied pricing based on their customer's race, according to a preliminary paper presented by the researchers. More

Times Colonist, Canada
Help sex workers while they're still alive
January 11, 2008 -- With the prison gates barely closed on Pickton, another serial killer has already emerged on the Lower Mainland. In Edmonton, where 20 survival sex workers have been murdered in the past two decades, police have begun collecting DNA samples from other street workers to make it easier to identify them should they, too, turn up dead. More

The Local, Sweden
Swedish prostitution: gone or just hidden?
January 10, 2008 -- Sweden's tough laws banning men from paying for sex are grabbing international attention, with Britain considering similar measures. But have the Swedish laws actually worked? More

BBC News, UK
Gigolos speak out in conservative India
January 7, 2008 -- Dibakar, Samrat, Pallab and Goutam have also come together to bond in a group called Anandam that includes gays, lesbians, transgender groups and bisexuals to push HIV prevention programmes.
They are also stepping out of their shadowy world to talk about their lives and problems in a society where very little is known about them, talking about sex remains a taboo, and homosexuality and soliciting sex is outlawed. More

Noviye Izvestiya, Russia
One third of Russians support legalization of sex work
December 3, 2007 – Most of people in Russia don‘t denounce sex workers and their clients. A bit less than a half of Russia’s population – mostly women – consider this ancient profession humiliating. But about 40% of respondents – mostly men – do not see anything scandalous about it. Such are the results of a poll published by foundation "Public Opinion" (in Russian), Novie Izvestiya report. 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 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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