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".
Hong Kong, February 10, 2009 - A 24 year old male suspect was arrested on February 5, 2009, in connection with the alleged murder of a Thai prostitute in a Hong Kong apartment.
The Times of India
Kolkata, March 19, 2009 - Sex workers have shot off letters to political parties demanding space in their election agenda. The first letter was shot off to Left Front chairman Biman Bose and it reads: "Your party is fighting for the poor and the marginalized. We expect your party to also have our agenda in your election manifesto and discuss our problems in different public forums. We will support your party if you give due weight to our issues." According to an estimate by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), there are around 70,000 sex workers in Kolkata alone. Along with their family members, they comprise an electorate of around 2,10,000. Sonagachhi, the largest red light area in the city, usually has three polling booths where sex workers cast their votes.
Pune, March 18, 2009 - Democracy does not really come easy for the sizeable segment of nearly 5,000 sex workers in Budhwarpeth, the biggest red light area of the city. Volunteers of various NGOs had helped several commercial sex workers in the 2004 elections to enrol themselves but five years later the situation has not improved much. If the ration card is one of the documents accepted by the government as proof of residence, then only 150 of these sex workers were issued ration cards in the last three years. Nirmala, a brothel-owner who hails from Andhra Pradesh and has settled in Pune eight years ago, still does not have her ration card. At a meeting of some 20-odd brothel-owners held at Dani Galli on Tuesday, featuring high priority was the issue of sex workers enlisted as voters.
Zerkalo Nedeli, Ukraine
Statement of the National Expert Commission on public morals and All-Ukrainian Council of Churches address NGOs, GOs and citizens of Ukraine
Ukraine, January, 2009 – The more challenging life becomes, the better jokes it plays on us… In December 2008, the National Expert Commission on public morals signed a memorandum on cooperation with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations. He participants issues a joint address to state and non-governmental organizations and Ukrainian citizens with a call change the situation with morals in their country. The document starts with: "The analysis shows that morals in Ukrainian society are in a really poor state in comparison to the existing examples of morals in human civilization.” The question is what examples of “human civilization” do they refer to? The norms of Victorian England of last century? Or the norms of Antique Greece or Rome? Read the whole article in Russian here.