Posts tagged ‘law’
Today is International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. The Paulo Longo Research Initiative (PLRI) marks this important day with the launch of its new website, www.plri.org.
The PLRI website is a substantial library of resources about sex work in the context of economics, law, health, gender and sexuality, and migration. As it grows the site will increasingly showcase important research findings, host discussions among academics and sex workers and provide text and video news about relevant events and publications. The site will provide health service providers, policy makers, social workers, human rights advocates and students invaluable opportunities to learn about issues that affect sex workers.
December 17 provides an opportunity to reflect on why research is needed to provide evidence to guide measures to protect sex workers from violence and exploitation. Sex workers from all over the world have long argued that criminal laws against sex work render them vulnerable to abuses, including unprotected sex and lack of access to services and justice. But many countries continue to criminalise sex workers and sex worker organisations everywhere receive frequent reports of violence.
Sex workers all over the world are subject to violence, exploitation and abuse. For example:
- USAID research conducted in 2006 in Cambodia found that of the female and transgender sex workers surveyed approximately half were beaten by police; about a third gang-raped by police and about three-quarters were gang-raped by other men during the past year.
- In Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa Jane Arnott and Anna Louise Crago found that repeated violence, extortion and detention by law enforcement officers leave sex workers feeling constantly under threat in a climate of impunity that fosters further violence and discrimination against sex workers from the community-at-large. Migrants and transgender sex workers are particularly affected.
- In Pakistan research into sexually transmitted infections by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that HIV services need to be tied in with efforts to reduce discrimination, exploitation and violence against sex workers if they are going to be effective. This includes support programmes designed to increase sex workers’ abilities to defend their own human rights.
The World Health Organisation has recognised clear links between violence and sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV and recently both Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General, and Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, have recommended that laws that punish sex workers be repealed in the light of evidence that they increase HIV vulnerability.
On December 17 sex worker organisations in dozens of countries demand an end to violence. Browse the PLRI website to read about the nature and causes of violence against male, female and transgender sex workers and the successes and failures of efforts to reduce it. Help to promote the site by circulating the press release to your contacts.
To commemorate World AIDS Day our colleague Andrea Cornwall wrote a story for the IDS website about Uganda’s new Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This dangerous and discriminatory Bill will violate the fundamental human rights of sexual minorities, compound their exclusion from access to services and exacerbate the stigma people living with HIV and AIDS experience. Cornwall challenges Britain, as the original architect of the discriminatory laws that remain on the statute books of so many of its former colonies, to ensure that British aid does not abet regimes of this kind in such flagrant abuses of human rights. (more…)
Recent laws and policies put in place to protect sex workers have in fact resulted in widespread abuses of their rights. Programmes aimed at sex workers often attempt to ‘rescue’ them, without addressing their human rights. Despite enormous challenges, sex workers are calling for legal reform and programmes to end violence and discrimination. They advocate for safer working conditions and access to health care. They want rights not rescue. On November 10 Mama Cash will give the floor to sex workers and activists from around the world for a discussion about sex work and human rights.
The panel discussion features Ruth Morgan Thomas (Scottish Prostitutes Education Project), Pye Jakobsson (Rose Alliance, Sweden), Marianne Jonker (Soa Aids Netherlands) and Macklean Kyomya (WONETHA, Uganda).
Moderator: Marjan Sax.
Mama Cash is organising the event in cooperation with the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP). Date: Tuesday, November 10
Location: De Balie, Amsterdam Grote Zaal
Time: 20.00 – 21.30
The Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference will take place from the 30 March- 1 April 2010, at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.
A call for papers has been issued under the Gender, Sexuality and Law Subject Stream. The stream seeks to draw together socio-legal scholarship from across the globe, featuring scholars from a range of disciplines relating to the broad theme of gender, sexuality and law.
Past papers have considered sexuality and education law, queer theory, same-sex marriage, gender and parenthood, sex work, domestic violence, public sex, sexuality and the media, religion and sexuality, international comparisons, and theories of gender but papers pertaining to any area of gender, sexuality and law will be considered.
Where governance is poor and the rule of law is weak, female, male and transgender sex workers are typically exposed to severe and pervasive human rights abuses. Abuses may consist of violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, unlawful confiscation of property, limits on freedom of movement, and discriminatory and corrupt treatment in both public and private domains.
Chronic abuse of this kind will impact negatively on any person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Responding to these matters has been a key focus of sex worker activism globally. Sex workers have been involved in many projects in order to reduce the occurrence of these harms. There range from local anti-violence initiatives and police training to international human rights advocacy.
However the impact of legal services for sex workers generally, the relationship between legal services and health status, and the place of legal services amongst other responses has not been rigorously examined. (more…)
A recent discussion about sex work from the AIDS INDIA e FORUM provides an insight into how the laws to control and regulate sex work in India are viewed by various stakeholders.
The AIDS INDIA e FORUM is a virtual organization responding to the HIV and AIDS crisis in India, by connecting the key stake holders together. This FORUM facilitates networking, communication and collaboration among those who are involved or interested in HIV and AIDS related issues in India. One of its main functions is a moderated email list through which members share information and mobilise around issues of common interest.
The discussion was prompted by the defeat of a new law to regulate sex work – the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill. According to Tripti Tandon of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit the Bill:
‘Intended to shift legislative policy on sex work from tolerance to prohibition. This was sought to be done through the introduction of a new offence of visiting a brothel, which would penalise clients. It also sought to broaden the meaning of prostitution to include all transactional sex, as opposed to acts involving exploitation on a commercial scale.
By inserting a definition of trafficking for prostitution, the bill attempted to criminalise poverty induced sex work. Other changes included lowering rank of Police authorized to arrest, search and raid brothels and extending detention of sex workers to seven years. Sex workers vehemently opposed these measures which, they believed, would offset any positive effect of decriminalizing soliciting.’ (more…)
After months of speculation and stress, sex workers rights advocates have reason to celebrate this International Sex Workers Rights Day. Last week, the Cabinet failed to approve an amendment to India’s Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Bill that would have further stigmatized sex workers by criminalizing the purchase of sexual services.
PLRI member Meena Seshu from CASAM has been featured on a number of blogs explaining more about the Bill and the negative consequences of criminalising the clients of sex workers.