IN F O C U S by yaofenji


									                                              SWAN NEWS, Issue 27, 2010
                                                                                           SWAN newsletter is the voice of
           Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Ex-

                                                                                           the Sex Workers Rights Advo-
                                                                                           cacy Network, a network of civil
           cluded from Proposed Macedonian Antidis-                                        society organizations engaged
           crimination Draft Bill                                                          in advocating the Human Rights
                                                                                           of the sex workers in Central
                                                                                           and Eastern Europe and Central
       In January 2010 the government                                                      Asia. Currently SWAN consists
                                                                                           of 17 member-countries of the
       of Macedonia proposed a new                                                         region.
       draft of the long-awaited anti-                                                     If you wish to learn more about
       discrimination law. Though previ-                                                   SWAN activities, please visit
       ous drafts included "sexual direc-                                                  WWW.SWANNET.ORG.
 tion" as ground protected against dis-
                                                                                                       In this issue:
 crimination, it has been eliminated
                                                                                           In Focus:
 from the present draft. Boris O. Dit-
 trich, the advocacy director in the pro-                                                 •Sexual Orientation and Gender Iden-
 gram for lesbian, gay, bisexual and                                                       tity Excluded from Proposed Mace-
                                                                                           donian Antidiscrimination Draft Bill
 transgender people of Human Rights            tion on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
 Watch wrote a letter to the Prime Min-        to which Macedonia acceded in 1993         •South Africa: Push to Protect Sex
                                                                                           Workers During World Cup
 ister of Macedonia.                           has also affirmed in its General Com-
                                                                                          •International Sex Workers Day, 3rd
          International law and stan-          ments that the Convention's prohibi-        March
 dards prohibit discrimination on the          tions on discrimination (art.2) are        •Sex Worker Rights Music Video
 basis of sexual orientation. Protecting       taken to include "sexual orientation."     •Paris Manifestation for the Rights of
 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender                Human Rights Watch disagrees        Sex Workers
 people against discrimination is there-       with the approach. Express mention of
 fore part of Macedonia's duty-bound           the grounds of discrimination is an         Sex Workers’ Report
                                                                                          •SWAN News interview with Victoriya
 obligations. The International Cove-          essential measure toward eliminating
                                                                                           about the situation of migrant sex
 nant on Civil and Political Rights            unequal treatment. HRW thus urges           workers in Kazakhstan.
 (ICCPR) to which Macedonia acceded            the Prime Minister to change the draft
                                                                                           News from SWAN Network
 in 1994, affirms the equality of all          law and make the anti-discrimination
                                                                                          •SWAN Member Organizations Use
 people in articles 2 and 26.                  framework law compatible with inter-        December 17 for Campaign Pur-
          Likewise, the United Nations         national human rights standards.            poses
 Committee on the Rights of the Child,                                                    •Ukraine is Continuing to Kill Sex
 the international body of experts that        For the full text, go to: http://           Workers
 monitors compliance with the Conven-                     •You Must Know About Me – Macedo-
                                                                                           nian Sex Workers’ Campaign Video
                                                                                          •National Mapping of Commercial Sex
            South Africa: Push to Protect Sex Workers                                      Workers in Albania
                                                                                          •Tais Plus and HOPS to Participate at
                                    During World Cup                                       Liverpool Harm Reduction Confer-
  A steering committee has been set             to decriminalize their trade.
  up with a mandate to push for re-                     "I have seen my colleagues         Sex Workers’ Advocacy School
  forms with the police commissioner            harassed by the police and I have         •The Curious Sex Workers’ Guide to
  and legislature before the world soc-         also experienced that," said Anna          the “Anti-Prostitution Pledge”
  cer showcase in June 2010. Sex                Sibisi, a sex worker for the past eight
                                                                                           Quote of the Month
  workers and activist organizations            years in Cape Town. "I would like to
  say the World Cup is an opportunity           see this end before the World Cup."        Announcements

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                                                                                                                          Page 2
IN FOCUS (continued):

        Well aware of the resistance to changing the          criminalized. South Africa expects at least 450,000
law, sex workers are pushing for at least a morato-           visitors during the World Cup, and according to Ban-
rium on arrests during the soccer event. "We should           net-sexual activity will increase. The prospect is
be given temporary licenses to operate during the             chilling for a country that has the world's highest
World Cup as they map the long term plans," Sibisi            HIV and AIDS rate. UNAIDS says South Africa ac-
said.                                                         counts for 17 percent of global infections.
        In South Africa, sex workers face a jail term if              Bannet referred to the New Zealand experi-
charged for at least three times. "The police have to         ence after laws were changed in 2003. Studies con-
stop harassing sex workers, doing so will increase            ducted by the government five years later showed
their vulnerability, that is why we will engage with          positive changes, which Bannet said were due to
police authorities before the World Cup," said Di-            'improved working conditions and sex workers being
anne Massawe of the Sex Worker Education and Ad-              able to negotiate safer sex and report abuse to po-
vocacy Taskforce (SWEAT).                                     lice.' But the suggestion of decriminalization has
        SWEAT is a non governmental or-                                   again sparked furious public debate in
ganization that advocates for the rights of                               South Africa, a reflection of how sex work
sex workers. The Cape Town based organi-                                  is still highly stigmatized in African coun-
zation has also been on the forefront of                                  tries.
calling for the decriminalization of sex in                                         The process of changing the law
South Africa. "We have realized that people                               began some seven years ago when the
still enter into sex work, therefore we say it                            South African Law Reform Commission
is better to educate (them) and have their                                was tasked with reviewing the Sexual Of-
rights protected - it's a matter of human                                 fences Act. However, the process has
rights," added Massawe.                                                   dragged and the initial bill is expected for
        South Africa's HIV and AIDS and STI Strategic         parliamentary debate in March next year and final
Plan (2007-2011) recommended that sex work be                 legislation in 2011. "The delay has not been encour-
decriminalized. For Health researcher Marlise Richter         aging and this has had profound effects on sex work
with the South African National AIDS Council                  operations in this country," said Massawe. "We an-
(SANAC), the merits of such a move are many; chief            ticipate a day when our leaders will realise that this
among them reproductive health for sex workers.               phenomenon will remain part of our society."
She said: "If it is legal the sex worker will dictate the             "We are talking to FIFA on all these issues of
terms knowing that the law is on her side, she or he          public health and I think it will also be an opportu-
can negotiate with a client for safe sex which is             nity to introduce the human rights aspect-that is of
rarely happening now."                                        sex workers," concluded Zanele Mthembu of SANAC
        Health activist Tim Bannet says HIV transmis-         Sports and Entertainment Sector.
sion will be significantly reduced if sex work is de-

  International Sex Workers Day, 3rd March
                                                         Calcutta: over
  The 3rd of March is International                                        500 sex worke
                                                         red light areas                      rs gathered from
  Sex Worker Rights Day. The day’s                                        to stage a cand                          different
                                                        occasion of th                        le light proces
  history goes back to 2001 when over                                   e 'Internationa                       sion on the
                                                        The Durbar M                      l Sex Workers
                                                                        ahila Samanw                        Rights Day'.
  25,000 SWs gathered in India for a                    organized this                  aya, a forum o
                                                                         rally to highlig                  f sex workers
  SW festival. The organizers, Durbar                  of sex workers                     ht the socio-eco
                                                                        . Children of th                      nomic plight
  Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a                        street plays an                     e sex workers
                                                                        d other progra                       presented
  Calcutta based group that has over                  Swapna Gyne,                        ms.
                                                                        a sex worker sa
  50,000 sex worker members and                       observe this d                        id: "we were no
                                                                       ay. We challeng                         t allowed to
  members of their communities. Sex                   will be observ                      ed the govern
                                                                      ing the day by                        ment that we
  worker groups across the world have                March 3. Hence                     any which way
                                                                         we celebrate th                  . The day was
  subsequently celebrated 3 March as                 till the time se                        is day and take
                                                                      x workers exis                            oath that
  International Sex Workers’ Rights                  she added.                        t, we will obse
                                                                                                         rve this day,"

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                                                                                                                                  Page 3
IN FOCUS (continued):

                                        Outreach Pro
                  local  Sex Workers             oint-
  Chicago: the                     of demands p
                  devised a list       prostitution.
  ject (SWOP)          inalization of
  ing to the dec
                  rim                     ecriminaliza-
                  tical ob  jectives are d cial rec-
   SWOP’s poli              tion, securing
   tion of  adult prostitu              profession an
                    x wo  rk as a valid
   ognition of se workers right to self-
                   sex                    ands include
                   n. Th e March 3 dem d a stop to
    determinatio            deportations,
     an en d to raids and forced reeducating of
                    and then                     d for
     the trapping                  OP also calle anner
      SWs and cu    stomers. SW              er the b
                              n of SWs und               Halifax: Step
      ending  the repressio                              outreach and
                                                                       ping Stone, an
                                                                                      organization th
      of anti-traff icking.                              Halifax Region
                                                                       supportive prog
                                                                                       rams to sex w
                                                                                                      at provides
                                                                        (Nov         a Scotia, Canad orkers in              the
                                 AL celebrated                ment urging la
  Sacramento: SWOP-NORC                                                       w enforcemen             a) issued a st
                                  . Issues included           the current ar                   t and the cour
  March 3 with a lobbying day                                                rest and releas
                                                                                               e procedures
                                                                                                                ts to review
                                    nities, the tar-          sex workers’ he
  criminalization of out commu                               Canadian Crim
                                                                               alth and safety                 that impede
                                                                                                  within the regi
                                   rs, migrants and
  geting of transgender worke                                lease anyone
                                                                             inal Code give
                                                                                              s police the po
                                                                                                                   on. The
                               of police protection                         arrested for so                     wer to re-
  sex workers of color, lack                                prevent them                     licitation on co
                                    se, and targeting                       from accessin                      nditions that
  and recourse in cases of abu                              fax region. Se                  g entire sectio
                                                                                                              ns of the Hali-
                                    sing the real is-                      x workers and
   sex workers in lieu of addres                            conditions as
                                                                           being placed
                                                                                             their allies refe
                                                                                                               r to these
                                                                                          on boundaries
   sues of trafficking.                                     Rene Ross with
                                                                              Stepping Ston                 .
                                 urgent issue was                                             e says “These
   On March 3 a specific and                               releases prev
                                                                         ent sex worke                          conditional
                                    P-NORCAL seeks                                        rs from access
   brought fourth for which HO
                                                           services such                                   ing essential
                                                                          as transition se
                                rous hardships             housing.” Not                    rvices, health
   support. Among the nume                                                only does this                      care and
                                 ies, it is surprising    cessing some                     keep sex worke
    which effect the communit                                             services, “it fu
                                                                                          rther isolates
                                                                                                               rs from ac-
                                istence on condoms        them to work
    that the organizations’ ins                                          in unsafe area                    and forces
                                                          stances.”                       s and under ris
                                     d as evidence in                                                        kier circum-
    for protection is actually use
                                    and District Attor-
    prostitution cases by police
                                 h sex workers use
    neys in California. Althoug
                                     dom use is inhib-
     condoms, it is clear that con                              Sex Worker
                                 use of condoms
     ited when the mention or                                   Rights Music
     can be employed against the
   Paris Manifestation for the Rights of                             On December
                           Sex Workers                               the 3rd the San
                                                                     Francisco Sex
Partially inspired by March the 3rd, but held 3 weeks later,
                                                                     Worker Film
the conference took place in le Sénat in Paris and it included
                                                                     and Arts Festival premiered the “sex worker an-
a full day of panel discussions on topics of sex work and the
Internet, the criminalization of clients and the debate around       them”, Courtney Trouble's "The Burnout," a mu-
re-establishing a brothel system in France. Participants in-         sic video by Scarlot Harlot and Courtney Trou-
cluded female, male and transgender sex worker activists,            ble. In the video, a 'day in Courtney's life' paral-
ally activists, politicians and others from across France and        lels her journey from phone sex to sexual repre-
also representatives from Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden and           sentation/pornography as well as her political
the Netherlands.                                                     journey, interwoven with sex worker demonstra-
The always fabulous traditional Pute Pride street manifesta-         tions, clips and photos from organizations listed
tion took place after the conference. Proudly taking over the        here.
street, the crowd wended its way through the streets of Paris
in beautiful vibrant glory with banners, red umbrellas and           To view the clip, click:
chanted slogans.                                                     file/717209

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                                                                                                                     Page 4

Nothing about us without us is a message repeated more often
then ever before by sex workers around the world. This column in
the SWAN News provides an opportunity for sex workers to ex-
press their opinions, tell us about their lives, problems and
dreams. Contributions are welcome: write to
                                                                      SEX WORKERS REPORT

    SWAN News interview with Victoriya about the situation of
            migrant sex workers in Kazakhstan.
What is the situation for girls from Uzbekistan or             If most women keep most of their profits, why
other countries in Kazakhstan ?                                are there some migrant women working in really
                                                               horrible conditions ?
Recently, the migrant girls have the most problems.
Let’s say their documents are OK. But the police take          The situation is that women are coming to work in Ka-
them to the police station and say they have to check          zakhstan, because they have no money or education.
their documents and then take the documents and lock           So they choose this job. Or, the girls come from the
the girls up. In a recent case in                                                   villages maybe for another job, but
July in Taldykorgan, the police                                                     then they see there is no job mar-
held the girls for six days, while                                                  ket, so they do sex work. The prob-
they “checked” their documents.                                                     lems come for the girls with fake
For six days, the girls were raped,                                                 documents.
beaten. They gave them nothing
to eat. They were treated horribly
                                                                                   If they come with fake documents,
while they were imprisoned. At the
                                                                                   the pimps are really not nice to
very end, they give their docu-
                                                                                   them because they control the
ments back and said “Your docu-
                                                                                   situation 100 per cent. If a migrant
ments are fine, you can go.”
                                                                                   woman works alone, the police
What did the girls do?                                                             come along and she is deported. If
                                                               they work with the pimps, the police comes, the pimps
They came to the drop-in center and they lived there
                                                               pay the police and they let her stay in the country with
for 3 days in the center. The psychologist spoke with
                                                               her fake documents. The independents can also have
them and we had doctors treat them for free. Not just a
                                                               problems with bad clients, who beat or humiliate them.
gynecological check-up, we also had a surgeon come
because they were beaten so heavily, not just raped.
                                                               So, the girls work with pimps because of this. Many
Did they report the case to other authorities?
                                                               pimps are women, but these pimps, very often treat the
They didn’t go to the court or the police, because there       women badly. They can force them to work, tell the
is no point. The case will be closed, it is of no use. They    women they can not reject clients. The girls from Uz-
did not want to live through the humiliation again and         bekistan say that to come to Kazakhstan is very profit-
see no one cared about what happened.                          able for them. In one month they earn what they would
                                                               in six months in Uzbekistan, so the risk is worth it to
What has happened to these women?
They went to work in a sauna owned by a police man.
                                                               How do women get out of bad conditions?
Since the owner is a police man, they are relieved, be-
cause they are protected from the police now. They are         Here is one example. There are some local girls, who
happy now, he is a good owner. The girl gets 70 % and          came from the village to the capital to go do sex work.
the policeman gets 30%.                                        They looked for a pimp to work for, they found pimps,
                                                               everything was ok, he gave them money. But then one
Is this an average arrangement?
                                                               day, they decided to run away and work independently.
Most sex workers split their profits 50-50. There are          That was when their problems started, because they
also some migrant girls without documents, who are             didn’t manage to run away. The pimps caught them
totally controlled in slavery-like situations, who work        and stabbed them. When they recovered, in punish-
only for food. This is a very small percentage, though.        ment, he forced them to work for no money at all.
It is now more and more popular for sex workers to
work independently.

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                                                                                                                            Page 5

So the girls went to the police on their own. They man-         What happens to the girls when they are caught
aged OK with the police and the police intervened, not          by police working with fake documents?
to help the girls but because the pimps were dealing
                                                                There was a raid recently and 7 girls were deported but
drugs. The police took the pimps to jail - but not for
                                                                one girl was allowed to stay. She said “One police man
what they did to the girls, for the drugs. They do not
                                                                liked me a lot. Now, I have to have sex with him every
care about the girls, but the drugs… Well, it was the
                                                                Saturday, so I can stay in the country.”
drugs that saved the girls.
                                                                If they are officially deported, they are kept in the po-
So the girls were free and they went to work for an-
                                                                lice station for 3 days and then deported. It becomes
other sauna and they are now doing well, working in
                                                                an official government deportation and so, they are
conditions that are ok. In saunas, it is safer, because it
                                                                generally not humiliated. When a girl is deported, the
is your space and there are admin staff who run the
                                                                government pays for a bus. We don’t know what hap-
place. They offer some security because they don’t
                                                                pens on the other side of the border when they get
want the girls to be beaten by bad clients, it is bad for
                                                                there. In 3 months they can come back again and they
their business too.
                                                                do. Many women, manage to come back before the 3
Pimps are an issue. But there are other important ones
                                                                months are up, by paying the police to pass through
for migrant sex workers, like access to treatment for
                                                                the border.
health issues and trying to obtain legal documents.

                                  SWAN Member Organizations Use
                                  December 17 for Campaign Purposes
                                 Sex workers’ organizations across Central and Eastern Europe and Central
  NEWS FROM                      Asia used the opportunity of the International Day to End Violence Against
     SWAN                        Sex Workers to advocate SW’s rights. Below is a summary of the activities car-
   NETWORK                       ried out be the organizations.

HOPS and STAR, Macedonia: KOVCHEG, Kazakhstan: roundtable
    workshops, screenings discussion, media workshop, outreach session
The Program for support of sex workers at HOPS organized a Hu-        A roundtable discussion with the representatives of
man Rights week throughout 10-17 December with various daily          local authorities, ngo-s and the media was held. The
activities. On 10 December an educational workshop was held           event allowed an opportunity to raise the topic of dis-
where a film was screened on human rights and there was a brief       crimination of sex workers and IV drug users, as well
presentation about the importance of the day. On the 14th a work-
shop “Legislation and SR and the benefits of legali-
                                                                      as people living with HIV.
zation” was be held, and on the 15th the film “You                                            The issues covered included the
must know about me” was screened and a a psycho-                                              legalization of prostitution in Ka-
social workshop was held on violence and the emo-                                            zakhstan, together with the au-
tions associated with it.                                                                    thorities’ view on it. Also, the pros
                                                                                            and cons of the necessity of puni-
On the 16th there was a poster workshop about                                               tive measures to prevent violence
December 17th and human rights, and on the 17th                                                 against sex workers were
the film “You must know about me” was screened                                                  listed, and that penalties
again, and a presentation was held about the
importance of the day. After a small party organ-
                                                                                                should be consistent with the
ized by the Sexual Workers red umbrellas were                                                   protection of human rights and
handed out. During the entire event, the Mani-                                                  to prosecute those responsible
festo of the Sex Workers and brochures with a                                                   for non-compliance.
short story for 17 December were distributed.
                                                                                             There was also a media work-
STAR (sex workers' rights activist group) of Ma-                                             shop with journalists, who re-
cedonia designed and launched a calendar for                                                 vealed problems faced by me-
2010, to mark December 17th and sex workers’                                                 dia professionals when cover-
rights. The calendar may be downloaded from                                                  ing the sex industry. The next
here                                                  step was the outreach session,
Documents/STAR_kalendar_small_2010.pdf                                where outreach workers handed out red umbrellas of
in pdf format, and quality print versions may be requested from the   paper carrying the sign "Fight for your rights!"
STAR team (write to SWAN coordinator to

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                                                                                                                           Page 6


      Siberian Initiative,        The organization
      Russia: awareness           dispatched the
                                  press release and
      campaign                    materials prepared
                                  by SWAN among
      the organizations working with sex workers in
      Russia. In case there was time available, cop-
      ies of the Macedonian documentary "You
      should know about me" were played to SWs,
      followed by a discussion.

Juventas, Montenegro:
     media campaign,
          On December the 17th
          over 180 organizations
          in Montenegro, the
          media and UN agen-
          cies were informed
          about this date and it's
          meaning. There was
          feedback from only                      Monten
          one organization deal-                          egro 20
          ing with rights of women. A“mini workshop” was                                    Ukraine 20
          held with sex workers explaining them their rights – like
          that they can report violence to the police without conse-
          quences – which was accepted very well. Also, a ques-        Legalife, Ukraine:
          tionnaire on violence against sex workers working on         media campaign,
          the street and in brothels was prepared.                     flashmob, street activism
  Aksion Plus, Albania:
  media campaign                                                       On December the 17th, Legalife held a press con-
                                                                       ference on countering violence against sex work-
  Several articles were published                                      ers. After the press conference the organization BF
  on SW-related issues, including                                      "Drop in Centre" held a flashmob in the central
  the life of transgender sex                                          square, on the main street and near the Kiev
                                                                       mayor's office with red umbrellas, each bearing the
                                                                       sign "Equal rights!" and "No to violence!". The ac-
  Aksion Plus was invited to                                           tion was attended by 10 SWs from different regions
  make a speech on the Second              Albania 2009                and organizations of Ukraine. After the rally leaflets
  Debate for Human Rights in Al-                                       and photos were distributed to bypassers.
  bania sponsored by the Dutch Embassy. Aksion Plus at-                For more on how Ukrainian SWs combat discrimi-
  tended one of the panels on Homophobia and Discrimination            nation and violence against them, go to:
  of Sexual Minorities where they presented the current situa-         •

                           Tais Plus, Kyrgyzstan: art exhibition, informal meeting, role playing
Several months before December, an exhibition titled         "Little Red Riding Hood" fairy tale to demonstrate how
"Crafty hands" was announced in the community. All           stigmata and discrimination were applied by society, how
works had been collected by December the 17th. All part-     sex workers’ rights were violated the by clients and law
ner organizations as well as sex workers were invited.       enforcement officials, and how sex workers feared to as-
In the beginning of the party the video from Macedonia       sert their rights.
was screened, so that the community knew that the De-        LGBT community members shared personal experiences,
cember 17 was not only celebrated in Kyrgyzstan but also     later guests and employees were invited to enact small
in other countries. Rights violation and violence against    sex work-related scenes. Some sex workers also told
sex workers is prevalent in many countries.                  their stories and how they handled difficult situations. In
Guests were entertained with poems and a scene from          the evening the rally continued in the street.

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                                                                                                                             Page 7


                                                        In the period between 14-22 December
    Odyseus Slovakia:                                   several seminars were held to reduce stig-     HESED,
    public campaign, screenings                         mata of SWs in six towns in Bulgaria. The      Bulgaria:
                                                        aim of the seminars was to highlight the       seminars,
                                                        work of NGOs on the local level, and to        campaign
                                                        place emphasis on the problems faced by
                                                        sex workers, including the effect of dis-
                                                        crimination and stigmatization of SWs on
                                                        the spread of HIV and other STDs in Bul-          Bulgaria 2009
                                                        garia. Representatives from municipalities,
                                                        police and foster homes attended the
                                                        seminars, as well as young people and
                   Slovakia 2009
                                                        The Sofia seminar on December the 17th
    The organization’s 17th December cam-               focused on the violence which sex work-
    paign included the distribution of post-            ers face every day. The documentary
    cards, copies of the declaration of human           “You must know about me” was screened
    rights of sex workers, and red umbrellas.           and all guests were involved in a discus-
    The Christmas Meeting of indoor and out-            sion about what could be done for sex
    door sex workers connected with a movie             workers in Sofia. A representative from
    presentation on the human rights of sex             the municipality said that she would like
    workers (Eurosex, video from Brussels               to help HESED in finding a place for a low-
    conference, HOPS video) and with                                    threshold center for sex
    a nice chat, Christmas cookies e,                                   workers. All guests re-
    self-support and having fun.                                        ceived a red umbrella.
JAZAS, Serbia: media cam-
paign, workshops, roundtable
discussions                                                               I Can Live Coalition: informal campaign
                                                                          meeting for SWs and supporters
   On December 17th, there was a public
   announcement on the prominent na-
                                                                 ia 2009             On December 17, 2009 a SWAN mem-
   tional TV station B92 about the history              Lithuan                           ber in Lithuania, the I Can Live
   and meaning of this date.                                                              Coalition organized an afternoon
             AZAS’ team held two workshops in which sex                                   party for sex workers in coopera-
   workers participated in the creation of the poster and                                 tion with medical counseling and
   postcard for the December 17th action. On Decem-                                       drop-in centre for sex workers
   ber 17th and 18th, JAZAS held a peer education                                         „Demetra“.
   seminar. 12 sex workers participated in workshops                                      The event took place on Demetra’s
   facilitated by peer educator Marianne Jonker from                                      premises. The women had an op-
   SOAIDS Netherlands. The themes of the workshops                                        portunity to gather and meet SW’s
   ranged from safe sex, police violence to peer educa-                                   rights supporters in an informal
   tion principles and the meaning of December 17th.                                      environment, have a cup of tea or
   The JAZAS team conducted outreach activities during                                    coffee, and share their daily wor-
   which they distributed key chains with messages                                        ries and problems. They com-
   printed on them (Sex work is work! Stop violence,                                      plained about violence they are
   support our rights!).                                                                  subjected to by partners, clients
             On December 18th, JAZAS held a press con-                                    and pimps. They expressed their
   ference/round table discussion “Prostitution in Ser-                                   fear to file appeals to police as well
                                                                                          as doubts that law enforcement
   bia: Is there an adequate answer?” The conference
                                                                                          could be on their side.
   was attended by stakeholders, the non-governmental
                                                                                          I Can Live Coalition’s executive
   sector and the media. The round table discussion /
                                                                                          director Jurgita Poskeviciute intro-
   press conference provided several different view-                                      duced the women to the concept
   points on sex work and opened discussion on the                   Serbia 2009
                                                                                          and origins of the December 17
   different terms and concepts related to sex work like trafficking, legali-        campaign, presented good practices
   zation, decriminalization and other models of sex work regulation. This           and foreign experiences in commemo-
   was the first ‘meeting’ of this sort in Belgrade, in which different stake-       rating this day. A quiz on HIV prevention
   holders were brought together to start a dialogue and shed light on this          was also organized during the event.
   “taboo” subject.

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                                                                                                                   Page 8


  For the third consecutive year,      Ukraine is Continuing                 You Must Know About Me –
  on December the 17th sex             to Kill Sex Workers                   Macedonian
  workers called for society to                                              Sex Workers’ Campaign
  respect the human dignity of
  persons involved in commercial
  sex, to combat discrimination                                              “You Must Know About Me” is a first-
  and violence against one of the                                            hand account of sex workers’ experi-
  most marginalized groups of                                                ences and aspirations off and on the
  our society.                                                               streets prepared by HOPS, SWAN's
                                                                             member organization in Macedonia.
  "Half a year ago, a sex worker                                             While dealing with the harassment and
  died a violent death in Kiro-                                              violence from clients, pimps, and the
  vograd. Recently two male es-                                              police, sex workers strive to counter the
  corts who provided sexual ser-                                             hostile public attitude by speaking out
  vices were killed in Sevastopol,                                           and fighting for basic rights. The video
  and there are cases of girls dis-                                          calls for zero tolerance of violence
  appearing. This year we re-                                                against sex workers, adequate investi-
  corded dozens of human rights                                              gation and prosecution of perpetrators,
  abuse cases against sex-                                                   and coordinated response of social insti-
  workers, occurring in almost                                               tutions to the actual needs of sex work-
  half of Ukraine's regions” - says                                          ers.
  Irina Mishina, the chair of the                                            In a large part of the video, sex workers
                                                                             give detailed account of a police raid
  Ukrainian league Legalife.
                                                                             where they were all taken in police cus-
                                                                       tody and subjected to inhumane, degrading
  According to recent estimates, about 63 to 93 thousand               and humiliating treatment overnight. Next
  women are involved in commercial sex in Ukraine. Virtually all       day, it turned out that they were detained for
  of them are working illegally, and regularly become the victim       the criminal act of spreading infectious dis-
  of violence, both by customers and law enforcers.                    eases. In groups of five the women were
                                                                       taken to a clinic for AIDS-screening, despite
  “It is just awful, when your rights are violated by those who        the fact that they are regularly screened for
  are supposed to protect them. Who do we call for assistance          STD-s. The sex workers were exposed to the
  then? It seems that sex workers are not regarded as human            media with their health status revealed.
  beings in general. Of course, they are forced to break the
  law, but that is for administrative reasons, and should not          The production of the film was made possible
  subject them into coercion to have free sex, being beaten or         by WITNESS, who provided training, consul-
  having their money taken. No one is allowed to use violence          tation and editing assistance. WITNESS
  against anyone else" - said Natalia Isaeva, leader of the sex        ( is a human rights organi-
  workers group initiative in Kirovograd.                              zation that uses video to open the eyes of the
                                                                       world to human rights violations. WITNESS
  “Distrust of police and forced rush into agreements with cus-        empowers people to transform personal sto-
  tomers reduce the ability of sex workers to eliminate poten-         ries of abuse into powerful tools for justice,
  tially violent clients or those who are under the effect of alco-    promoting public engagement and policy
  hol or drugs. Moreover, law enforcement officials recently
  began to consider the presence of condoms as a further
  proof of prostitution. It makes sex workers discard condoms,
  leading to an increased risk of contracting various infections,
  including HIV / AIDS” - stated Helen Zuckerman, head of the
  public center for sex workers in Kiev.

  The marginalized situation of sex workers and the increasing
  violence against them had a negative effect on the HIV epi-
  demic and other infection levels of other STDs.

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                                                                                                                                    Page 9


    Albanian SWAN-member Aksion         National Mapping of                   Tais Plus and HOPS to Participate
    Plus have prepared the first na-    Commercial Sex                        at Liverpool Harm Reduction
    tional map on the sex work-
    scene in Albania. The findings
                                        Workers in Albania                    Conference
    are alarming.
                                                                                               On 25th-29th April 2010, the 21st
                                                                                               International Harm Reduction
    Significantly higher rates of HIV and STI infections have been
                                                                                               Conference is taking place where
    documented among sex workers and their clients as compared
                                                                                               it was first established in Liver-
    to most other population groups within a country. However,
                                                                                               pool, England.
    the true extent of HIV transmission from sex workers and
    their clients to other populations remains generally unknown.
                                                                                                 Here is an update about sex
    Many factors significantly contribute to raise sex workers' HIV
                                                                                                 worker and allies involvement, so
    and STI infection vulnerability, such as: stigmatization and
                                                                                                 far, in the conference. A major
    marginalization, limited access to social, health and legal ser-
                                                                        session on sex work has been accepted, this is supported
    vices, sexual exploitation and trafficking, exposure to violence
                                                                        by the International Sex Work Harm Reduction Caucus.
    and substance abuse.
                                                                        The caucus is an informal network bringing together sex
                                                                        worker organizations and representatives and was
    Sex workers in Albania live under the daily threat of violence
                                                                        formed in order to promote the inclusion of sex workers
    (both verbal and physical), discrimination, constant fear of
                                                                        in debates about harm reduction and human rights par-
    police actions, and lack of substantive support services. These
                                                                        ticularly within this international forum.
    problems are significant factors underlying the continued pres-
    ence of this population on the streets. Furthermore, these
                                                                         The session entitled “The War Against Sex Workers”
    dangers, in turn are compounded by stigma, isolation and
                                                                        currently includes presentations from ALCIS in the De-
    hidden activity associated with their work.
                                                                        mocratic Republic of Congo, Tais Plus based in Kyr-
                                                                        gyzstan, Scarlett Alliance (Australia) reflecting on sex
    Sex work is an illegal activity in Albania and article 114/a
                                                                        worker peer to peer capacity development in Fiji & He
    “foresees aggravating circumstances whereby the exploitation
                                                                        Jin Kim presenting on transgender issues.
    of prostitution is sentenced from 7 to 15 years imprisonment”.
    It is obvious that the current law enforcement is problematic
                                                                        In addition a concurrent session supported by UKNSWP
    because instead of reducing the sex work activity and risks
                                                                        entitled “Sex Work & Harm Reduction in the UK: Safety,
    associated with it, it drives sex work and sex workers further
                                                                        Skills & the Struggle for Social Inclusion” has been ac-
    underground and detain them from seeking and receiving
                                                                        cepted. Beside the sex work-related sessions, a couple
    socio-health support and also keep them detached from the
                                                                        of other organizations have been accepted to present in
    mainstream society. In addition, police rarely responds to the
                                                                        other, non sex work-specific sessions as well, like Pye
    complaints of sex workers, even in cases of harsh violence
                                                                        Jakobsen (Rose Alliance, Sweden) and Marija Tosheva
    towards them.
                                                                        (HOPS, Macedonia).
    For more information, go to:
                                                                        For more information about the conference go to:

       The Curious Sex Workers’ Guide to the “Anti-Prostitution Pledge”
1. What is the “Anti-Prostitution Pledge”?                 2. Were sex workers the only group targeted?
                                                           No! We are in good company: others targeted were all women need-
The ‘Anti-Prostitution Pledge’ is the name given to an     ing to get abortions, drug-users and LGBT people! In 2003, the
American policy put into place in under George Bush.       United States government said that money could not go to groups or
Since 2003, any groups receiving money for anti-           clinics who also offer information or services related to abortion or
trafficking or HIV programs have to have a policy          needle-exchange for drug-users. During this time, American funding
opposing prostitution. This affects groups all around      for research into the risks of men who have sex with men and trans-
the world who receive money from the American gov-         gender women also came under attack.
ernment and work with sex workers – even if they           The Bush administration also required that 1/3 of all HIV-prevention
are receiving US money for something other than            money go to promoting sexual ‘abstinence’ (no sex) and ‘being faith-
their work with sex workers.                               ful’ (only sex with your husband or wife in heterosexual marriage)
                                                           without ever mentioning condoms (this is sometimes called A+B). In
In 2003, the US government also created what they          2006, for example, out of all the money spent on HIV-prevention by
called PEPFAR, a 15 billion dollar fund to help fight      related to sex in different countries, 56% went to A+B programs and
AIDS internationally. Groups receiving PEPFAR money        only 44% went to programs that talked about A+B but also men-
are among those who must sign the pledge.                  tioned using condoms (sometimes called ABC) or that just promoted

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                                                                                                                              Page 10
                                                                       4. Does this really affect me?
  3. Has the anti-prostitution pledge affected sex work-               The most directly affected are sex worker projects or
  ers?                                                                 groups who got or get funding from the US government
  Yes ! It has affected sex workers all over the world, and in par-    but it also affects groups that would like to get funding
  ticular, it has affected sex workers’ access to life-saving health   but can’t anymore.
  information, services and spaces to improve their working and
                                                                       All sex workers should be concerned though, out of
  living conditions.
                                                                       solidarity for those affected but also because the US
  Some big NGOs who didn’t want to lose their funding from the
                                                                       government has tried to influence foreign governments
  US signed the pledge closed down their sex worker projects or
                                                                       and UN bodies with its anti-sex work position. According
  drop-ins or stopped supporting sex workers. In Cambodia, a
                                                                       to the Associated Press, in 2006 the US blocked a World
  medical clinic by Doctors Without Bor-
                                                                                          Health Organization resolution for uni-
  ders (MSF) was closed down. In Bang-
                                                                                          versal access to HIV/AIDS treatment
  ladesh, drop-ins for sex workers were
                                                                                          because it opposed the mentioning of
  closed down. In 2005, the US govern-
                                                                                          needle-exchange, sex workers, drug
  ment cut half the funding for PSI, an
                                                                                          users and gay men. Then, in 2007, the
  international NGO because of outrage
                                                                                          United States pushed the UN to issue a
  by American politicians over their peer
                                                                                          “Guidance Note on Sex Work and HIV”
  outreach project to sex workers in
                                                                                          that was very conservative and fo-
  Costa Rica.
                                                                                          cused more on stopping sex work,
  In East-Asia, some NGOs and clinics
                                                                                          than stopping HIV.
  signed the pledge and interpreted it to
  mean that they could not offer health
  information to male or trans sex work-
  ers who came to their service.                                                        6. What can I do to protest the
  Some groups in Asia and Southern                                                      Anti-Prostitution Pledge?
  Africa signed the pledge saying they “opposed prostitution” but      You can sign this petition on-line and encourage all
  continued their work with sex workers and kept on receiving          those you know to sign it as well:
  United States funding. One of these groups has expressed that
  they are scared that if they publicly defended sex workers’
  rights, they could lose all their money.
  Some groups refused to sign the pledge. VAMP, a sex workers’         7. Where can I learn more and follow what hap-
  group in India refused to and so had to turn back their funding.     pens ?
  Most famously, the government of Brazil refused to sign the          To watch a short video by sex workers about the impact
  pledge and lost 40 million dollars from the U.S. Pedro Chequer,      of the anti-prostitution pledge, go to:
  responsible for HIV programs in Brazil said:
  “We view prostitutes as partners in the effort [to fight HIV],
                                                                       To read a letter opposing the anti-prostitution pledge
  partners who are efficient and competent. Prostitution exists
                                                                       written by Human Rights Watch and signed by more
  everywhere in the world, including the United States, and we
                                                                       than 200 organizations, go to:
  have a commitment to work with this group and respect them.”
  (To see read more about their action, go here: http://               •                             restrictive-policies-undermine-anti-aids-efforts
  In 2006, at the World Aids Conference in Toronto, 200 sex
  workers from around the world demonstrated against the anti-         For more detailed information, see:
  prostitution pledge.                                                 •
5. Has anything changed since 2003?                                    •
Three large NGOs sued the US government to make them stop                journal.pmed.0040207
requiring the anti-prostitution pledge. These are the Alliance for     •
Open Society International, Pathfinder, and DKT International. In        perpetuating-prostitution-pledge-allegiance-failure
May 2006, a judge decided that the anti-prostitution
pledge no longer applied to American groups but- the                                          Updates to the situation are
court decided it still applied to international groups and                                    posted here:
projects, even those run by American groups.                                                  •
When President Obama was elected in 2008, he made                                             and on the fabulous website of
some changes to PEPFAR. He removed the abstinence                                             sex worker activist Carol Leigh:
and faithfulness requirement, but still directed that                                         •
these needed to be prioritized over comprehensive
prevention (that includes condom-use). He removed                                             Also see Anti-Prostitution Pledge
the restriction on organizations who give information                                         Timeline here:
or services related to abortion…but he kept the anti-                                         •
prostitution pledge ! Boo !

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                                                                                                                        Page 11

  QUOTE            “We had nowhere to sleep. There were two wooden benches. We sat on the floor, it
                   was wet, people would urinate as we were sitting there, like cattle. I didn’t have any
  OF THE           air to breathe. When I asked for a doctor, they said there is nothing wrong with you.
  MONTH            When I remember that image, I get very upset. Terribly.”
                   —- Nevrie, Macedonia on being detained by the police

 State Regulations and Policies to                                                       Second Issue of the Newslet-
 Control Sex Work Cause Human                                                            ter of the Sex Workers’ Asso-
 Rights Violations in Austria                                                            ciation in Hungary is out

The Sex Workers' Forum of Vienna has submit-                                       Issue 1 of 2010 features a long inter-
ted a shadow report to the UN Committee                                            view with Swedish SW Pye Jacobson,
Against Torture which is reviewing Austria's                                       who tells the readers about the legal
                                                                                   regulation of sex work in Sweden and
compliance with international agreements on
                                                                                   its consequences on SWs and their
preventing torture this April. Sex work in Aus-
                                                                                   clients. There is an article about the
tria is legal if sex workers are registered with
                                                                                   current phase of the AIDS epidemic
authorities and undergo mandatory medical                                          and the means of protection. This is
exams.                                                                             followed by a country profile of Albania,
                                                                                   with an insight into the local commercial
                                      Sex Workers'             sex scene. There is an article on the hazards of gambling
                                      Forum reports            as a type of addiction and its adverse social conse-
                                      that sex work-           quences. Readers are acquainted with the history of the
                                      ers regularly            Busho-march, the famous and traditional early-spring
                                      receive de-              masquerade in the streets of Mohács, Hungary. Finally,
                                      grading treat-           there is an article on the Venice Carnival.
                                      ment in the
                                                               The Hungarian Association are in the process of officially
                                      course of such           changing their name from Hungarian Prostitutes’ Advo-
medical exams from the Vienna communal health                  cacy Association to Hungarian Sex Workers’ Advocacy
office. They further denounce degrading treatment              Association. The reason behind the change – as ex-
on the part of police who use under-cover operations           plained by representative András Szabó – is that the ex-
to arrest unlicensed sex workers and charge them               pression “sex worker” is much less burdened with the
with misdemeanors. They report that stigmatization             stigmata and prejudices regularly associated with the
of sex workers leads to impunity for crimes against            term “prostitute”. The change will, therefore, place the
them. Finally, they also denounce the lack of em-              organization in a better position regarding the tone of the
ployment options for female asylum seekers, that               public discourse on the rights of sex workers.
restrict many women to sex work.
                                                               You can download the newsletter PDF here:
 The PDF of the report is available at this link:              _2szammailhez_jan2010.pdf

To read International news please visit
SWAN website at

                                        SWAN project would not have been possible without the financial
                                        and information support of Sexual Health and Rights Project
                                        (SHARP) and Health Media of Open Society Institute (OSI).

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