Posts tagged ‘research’
The Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights was launched last week. It is a collaboration of interdisciplinary scholars in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. The Centre is named for Australia’s longest serving Justice of the High Court who is a renowned human rights expert, advocate and defender. He will maintain an active involvement in the Centre’s work and future direction. One of the first projects of the centre is research on the impact of law and regulation on female sex workers in 20 countries.
Text taken directly from Avahan…
Avahan, the India AIDS Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was begun in 2003 with the National AIDS Control Program and other donors to curtail the spread of HIV in India. In the first five years, Avahan designed and operated its programs in six states in India (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Nagaland and Manipur), which have a combined population of 300 million people. At the end of the first five years Avahan provided prevention services to nearly 220,000 female sex workers, 80,000 high-risk men who have sex with men and transgenders, and 18,000 injecting drug users, together with 5 million men at risk.
Emerging evaluation results from this large scale HIV prevention program have just been published in a special peer-reviewed supplement of Sexually Transmitted Infections that can be accessed at http://sti.bmj.com/content/86/Suppl_1. In the papers you will find details and measurement issues related to rate of scale up, costs, quality measures, multiple approaches to condom use, and modeled estimates of infections averted. All twelve papers and the six accompanying editorials are open access. (more…)
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.
Between August 24th and 26th, 2009, the Latin American Dialogue on Sexuality and Geopolitics took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Organized by Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW) in partnership with the Latin-American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights (CLAM), the meeting gathered close to 50 participants from nine countries — academics, researchers and activists — who debated the conditions of sexual politics in the region.
The session Sexuality and Economics: visibilities and invisibilities featured:
- Lucila Esquivel, coordinator of the Paraguayan Association of Sex Workers
- Ofélia Becerril, professor at the Colégio de Michoacán, in México;
- Adriana Piscitelli, professor and researcher at the Núcleo de Estudos de gênero PAGU in UNICAMP (Brazil);
- Maria Elvira Benítez, Anthropology PHD student at the Museu Nacional and program assistant at the Centro Latino Americano em Sexualidade e Direitos Humanos (CLAM), in Rio de Janeiro; and
- Bruno Zilli, anthropologist and also researcher at CLAM.
Many of the papers presented in this session focussed on sex work and the online overview of this session is an interesting read. The overview paper for the session, Prostitution as economic activity in urban Brazil, was written by Ana Paula Silva, professor at the Centro Universitário Augusto Motta (UNISUAM), in Rio de Janeiro, and Thaddeus Blanchette, professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) e also at UNISUAM. You can read a summary of their presentation and the comments that followed from it on the Sexuality Policy Watch website.
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.
One of the main tasks of PLRI is to improve the evidence base on sex work. We spend a lot of time grappling with existing research to try and understand its validity and the ethics of its manufacture. Understanding research and communicating it honestly and appropriately is not always easy. Sometimes research findings can be misunderstood and sometimes they are wilfully misrepresented to support a normative position.
A lively exchange yesterday on the message boards of the Guardian, a UK newspaper, has brought some of these tensions out into the open. The article that attracted all the interest, The truth of trafficking, was featured in the print edition of the newspaper. Articles on this topic appear in the Guardian on an almost weekly basis stimulated, in part, by proposed law reform that would criminalise the clients of sex workers who are ‘controlled for another person’s gain’.
It is not unusual for online media coverage of sex work related issues to set the message boards alight. Often they attract a strange breed of commentator. It is not unusual to find legitimate comment crowded out by remarks that are irrelevant, ill informed and at worst abusive.
What is striking about the interventions made by readers in response to this article – beyond how relevant and well argued their points are – is how they centre on the use/misuse of evidence. Specifically the assertion made by the author that, ‘In Britain, it is estimated that 80% of the 80,000 women in prostitution are foreign nationals, most of whom have been trafficked.’ (more…)