May 29, 2009, Vancouver -- Sheryl Kiselbach, who worked as a sex worker for 30 years and who is the violence-prevention coordinator with the Prostitution, Alternatives, Counselling & Education Society, started a legal challenge of Canada’s prostitution laws in 2007, stating that the laws criminalising sex workers increase their exposure to violence. In December, a judge ruled that Ms. Kiselbach would not have her case heard based on a technicality: Because she no longer works as a sex worker, the laws she is challenging do not cause her to work in unsafe conditions. Here is an update on her fight:
May 21, 2009, East London -- Leading up the FIFA’s 2010 World Cup soccer championship in South Africa, the question of decriminalising prostitution has become one of political and social importance for politicians and sex workers alike. The head of the National Prosecution Authority, Mokotedi Mpshe, gave his personal opinion on the decriminalisation debate by asking “What will happen to our morals if prostitution in South Africa is legalised for the 2010 Soccer World Cup?” South African sex workers responded to his comments and were none too pleased.
May. 21 2009, Seattle -- In Seattle Washington, a City Council mandate to offer courses to patrons of sex workers has run into problems.
Jun 2, 2009, Sydney -- Sex workers and the Scarlet Alliance in Australia took to the streets to mark International Whores’ Day and call on the Government to extend anti-discrimination laws to protect sex workers.
June 1, 2009, London -- Big Brothel: a Survey of the Off-Street Sex Industry in London, was published in the fall of 2008, claiming to be “the most comprehensive study ever conducted into brothels in the UK.” The report was republished almost a month before the October 8 deadline of a Home Office consultation into proposals to amend existing legislation on prostitution and brothels. 27 academics from prestigious universities across the UK and overseas have stated that the report “exhibits serious flaws in its mode of data collection and analysis”, as well as raising serious ethical questions about the methodology used to collect data. Here are two responses to the Big Brothel report:
The organization of physically challenged citizens petitions Kazakh government to legalize prostitution and to introduce a section in the state budget that would cover sexual services for physically challenged people. Read more in Russian.
Prostitutes in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have begun taking karate lessons to protect themselves from violent customers and pimps.
Twenty sex workers walked the ramp in the fashion show, jointly organised by the North Bengal Art Academy and Durbar Mohila Samanway Committee' (DMSC), an organisation of sex workers. The show, first of its kind in the state, was aimed at building their confidence, the academy chief Somes Das said. "We are delighted. We had been watching fashion shows in television channels since long. We have practised for past one week for the show. The only problem for us was to get a respectable audience. The organisers arranged that to our satisfaction" – said the spokesperson of the sex workers after the event.
New Zealand, March 17, 2009 - In terms of attitudes towards prostitution, New Zealand and Europe are almost as diametrically opposed as they are in geography. Kiwis have opted for wholesale liberalisation of the sex trade, while Europeans are increasingly restricting it. Does the New Zealand liberal approach provide a model or a warning? Henri Astier looks at its prostitution industry six years after decriminalisation, in the first of two articles.
Inter Press Service News Agency
Cape Town, March 7, 2009 - The steps of the Cape Town High Court, a frequent site of protest, have seen it all, but Mar. 6, was the first time, sex workers openly stood up for their rights there. Twenty protesters - mainly women, but including a few men - defiantly held up banners and placards, a few covered their faces behind paper masks. The placards demanded "Human rights for everyone" and an end to harassment by the police. Earlier in the day, a middle-aged woman preceded the protesters, brandishing a banner: "Prostitution destroys Marriage".