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From Editor:

Year 2011 was a year rich in experience and activities to such an extent that SWAN secretariat was not able to keep up with sharing the news. Please, read the articles in this newsletter and back issues on SWAN website and share our pride and enthusiasm with us!

From Editor:

Year 2011 was a year rich in experience and activities to such an extent that SWAN secretariat was not able to keep up with sharing the news. Please, read the articles in this newsletter and back issues on SWAN website and share our pride and enthusiasm with us!

What is “December 17”?
December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This event was created to call attention to crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Originally conceptualized by Annie Sprinkle and initiated by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered workers from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence. During the week of December 17th, sex worker rights organizations and their allies stage actions and vigils to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Existing laws prevent sex workers from reporting violence. The stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by the prohibitionist laws has made violence against us acceptable. Please join with sex workers around the world and stand against criminalization and violence committed against our communities.

Read Public Letter from Annie Sprinkle:

SWAN press-release.
Rights groups: Rights Not Violence for Sex Workers
December 17, Budapest– December 17th is International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. This event was created to call attention to violence committed against sex workers all over the globe.
Sex workers’ rights groups and their allies in Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine are marking the occasion as part of a joint campaign with SWAN – the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia – a network representing 19 organizations providing health and social services in 17 countries in the region. Actions across different countries will include marches of sex workers and allies, meetings with politicians and press conferences.

SWAN December 17: flare, courage and creativity
This year SWAN members are planning to hold meetings and seminars with police in Montenegro and Kyrgyzstan, a great “Red umbrella march and Roaring twenties” in Macedonia, a post-card campaign for Parliamentarians in Hungary, open letter campaigns in Romania and Ukraine, watch out for red balloons in Kazakhstan and red umbrellas in Russia, messaged about December 17 in night clubs in Bulgaria, LGBT and sex workers protest in Albania, small group meetings and big press-conferences all over the region!

Send your news to or share them with SWAN on facebook!/pages/SWAN/231971833534097
To follow the events organized by sex workers and their allies globally visit websites:
– Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP)
– Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA (SWOP-USA)
– International Committee on the Rights of Sexworkers in Europe (ICRSE)
– Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN)

This section of the newsletter is always dedicated to sex workers’ stories and experiences. Today we feature Zaneta from Slovakia and Vantala from Ukraine.

Zaneta, Slovakia
Interview with Žaneta, 47 years-old Bratislava
How long have you been working in the sex industry?
Z: Four years.
How did you start?
Z: I was involved with guys, the classic relationship, but everyone wanted me only after I had sex with them. And because every woman also has her needs, a few time, I have. But when it’s the next day and they didn’t call or anything. I felt stupid, a low sense of self. For two years I had a lover, only for sex. It was not out in the open. There was no courtship, no invitations on trips, to the lake, or to the cinema. It was simply about sex but I still had to love him. It was always just the night, and then I had to head back home to my house in Bratislava.

Vantala, Ukraine
AR: Tell me about yourself.
V: When there was nothing to sell or steal from home to support my drug habit, I had to think about other ways to find money. By the looks men gave me it was obvious that I was attractive. So I started to provide sexual services… It wasn’t difficult. I knew about sex from movies. After getting paid I would go to the other end of the city to my dealer to buy drugs. The next evening everything started again.
Surprisingly, in 3 years of my sex work experience I never was harassed by the police. Maybe my expensive outfit looked more like a young girl going to a party?


What is the cost of legal reform for Ukrainian sex workers?
By Aliya Rakhmetova
Beginning of November 2011, Ukrainian Verhovnaya Rada (a supreme body similar to Parliament) reviewed a bill on changing the legislation around ‘prostitution’. In the background note, Mogilev, the Minister of Interior, writes that the reason for the reform is the fact that existing legislation is not working (news article link ).

Romania: Same Rights, Same Responsibilities!

Violence, abuse and criminalisation of sex work and sex workers seriously impact sex workers’ human rights in Romania. ARAS is among the very few NGOs still funded and fighting in all the fields related to prevention of violence and human rights.
In this context, on December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, for the first time in Romania, ARAS intends to send an open letter to authorities and the media.

TO SUPPORT the Open Letter write to ; ;
TO READ the Open Letter click here.

Changes for sex workers in Bulgaria?
By Petra Timmermans, ICRSE Coordinator and Rayna Dimitrova, HESED
Recently in Bulgaria sex workers have taken the first tentative steps to mobilising for their rights.
On 29 August plans were put into place for a demonstration in response to recent police activity that has focused on arresting and detaining sex workers working along the main ring road around Sofia. Charges related to immoral behavior and/or causing traffic accidents are being used in what could be described as an attempt to rid Sofia of prostitutes. However, the demonstration did not take place as planned. Although around 20 sex workers showed up there were so many journalists taking photographs that most of the women became nervous and left.

Hungary: Budapest Declaration of the Network of countries with Low HIV prevalence in Central and South-Eastern Europe
By Marija Tosheva, HOPS
In late June, 2011 the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, hosted a meeting in Budapest for 30 delegates from the countries of Central and South East Europe (SWAN was also represented), with supporters from Western Europe, to launch the Network of Low Prevalence Countries in Central and South East Europe – NeLP (

SWAN at UN Global Commission on HIV and the Law
By Anna-Louisa Crago
What is the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (GCHL)?
It is a commission put in place by the UN to study the impact of different laws on HIV-prevention, treatment and care. It also studies the impact of laws on discrimination and violence against people living with HIV or at high-risk of HIV.
The commissioners are a group of highly respected individuals and experts from around the world and include former heads of state, judges and policy experts. They are advised by a committee of technical experts with extensive knowledge about HIV and the law.
The commission is particular because it is independent of the UN. That means that the commissioners can come to their own conclusions, even if coutries within the UN or UN workers disagree with these.

What does the GCHL have to do with SWAN?
Individuals and groups from the CEE/CA, as well as other regions,were invited to submit testimony about the impact of different laws and HIV. SWAN submitted a submission that tried to include experiences from all across the region. Many other SWAN groups individually submitted such as HOPS (Macedonia), Lega-Life (Ukraine) and HESED (Bulgaria).

We all by now understand that those who shape the news can shape social attitudes and cultures. The interview you are about to read was published by “Mother Jones”, a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting.
The interview features Will Rockwell, editor of $pread, a sex worker-lead magazine that publishes articles, photographs, stories and poetry created by sex workers in the USA.

“It’s Not Selling Your Body, It’s More Like Controlled-Access Rental”

STAR newsletter
This issue of From Us For Us is dedicated to December 17. The Issue includes:
-December 17, International day to STOP violence against Sex Workers
-The symbolism of the Red Umbrella
-Safety at work
-In memory of the victims of the Green River killer
-Manifesto of Sex Workers
-History of the Declaration of Sex Worker’s rights
-How December 17 is celebrated past years around the world
Download PDF in Macedonian

Hungary: next issue of HETERAK available!
Read Hungarian newsletter for sex workers: history of red umbrella, Christmas stories, Bulgarian activists, tips on better orgasm, December 1st and Hungarian cuisine!
Go to SZEXE website here.

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SWAN newsletter is the voice of the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network, a network of civil society organizations and sex worker rights activists engaged in advocating the Human Rights of the sex workers in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is issued in Russian and English.

Subscription is free of charge. To subscribe or unsubscribe to SWAN News, please send a message to with the following text in the subject line:
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