Posts tagged ‘trafficking’
Leela Neena wants the price of sex raised, not ARV.
‘The criminalisation of homosexuality and the exclusion of illegal drug users and sex workers from health services have made more difficult the tailoring of interventions to these populations”
This statement can be read as the Pepfar compliant position : “it is Ok for sex work to be illegal so long as we can HIV test sex workers and tell them they are responsible for making their clients use condoms’
Well that may be cynical but this statement seems to me to be yet more evidence that the stage is being set for the UN to recommend that homosexuality be decriminalised but not sex work, in line with US policy and the misperception or ideology that sex work is trafficking (or they are so entwined that no morally responsible person would consider decriminalising sex work).
It is very worrying to see even the Lancet separating homosexuality out from other relevant criminalised behaviours in this way. As Matt Greenall says ” if it is possible to achieve Universal Access for sex workers and drug users even in contexts of criminalisation, then surely it is also possible to do so for men who have sex with men in the context of criminalisation? From a public health and service provision point of view, I don’t understand the logic behind the different positions in each case. As programme managers, service providers and outreach workers all know, any sort of criminalisation severely compromises the ability to deliver programmes – it’s not worse for some groups than for others.”( http://mngreenall.posterous.com/aids-universal-access-and-the-lancets-equivoc)
In a post script on Somaly Mam and Afesip Cambodia, the Cambodia Daily ran a story today based on a visit to AFESIP shelter in which Andrew Hunter’s claims that unethical and possibly unlawful practices occur there were investigated. The journalists were not allowed to interview inmates without supervisors to ask if everyone there is voluntarily and knows they can leave. Even with the supervision one of the interviewees said she ‘did not want to be there at first’ but became used to it, which obviosuly suggests her original detention was unlawful.
The article said that sex workers were captured by pimps that broke in the Afesip compound a couple of years ago. Infact the women managed to breach the gate and barbed wire and got away on local moto-taxis. Several of the women later protested against the outside the US Embassy at US officials falsely claiming that their escape was a ‘re-capture’ by ‘pimps’ rather than an assertion of several of the most fundamental human rights.
No NGO or sex worker organisation in the history of the universe has ever conducted actions in support of sex trafficking.
Our media monitoring over the last week or so has picked up a steadily increasing number of news stories in which it is claimed that 40,000 sex workers will descend on South Africa in response to the increased demand for sexual services from football fans enjoying the World Cup. But where does this figure come from and what does it mean for sex work policy?
Matt Greenall has picked up this issue on his blog and, with his permission, I have posted it below.
David Bayever of South Africa’s Central Drug Authority’s announcement that the World Cup in South Africa would lead to 40,000 foreign sex workers being brought to South Africa (“many… from Eastern Europe”) has received blanket coverage in the press (http://tinyurl.com/ygpz8wp; http://tinyurl.com/ya35p3k; http://tinyurl.com/yfwfluh). The only hint of a source for this very high figure is the “event organisers” (in the Telegraph article).
But it looks like this particular figure wasn’t made up on the hoof by anyone in South Africa. Try googling “40,000, world cup, prostitute, germany” and you’ll see that exactly the same figure was being given in the run up to the Germany World Cup in 2006 (http://bit.ly/clc6dN; http://bit.ly/c44hgv; http://bit.ly/aLuhoM), amid accusations that the German government, having legalised prostitution in 2002, was facilitating trafficking and coercion. (more…)
PLRI will be engaging with the ‘Trafficking Awareness Week’ organised by Students Against Human Trafficking at the University of Sussex. Jo Doezema from the Institute of Development Studies will be speaking in an event entitled Conceptual Approaches to Human Trafficking. This is an open meeting in Room Arts C 233 on Friday, May 8th from 11am – 1pm. Please do feel free to come along.
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…)
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…)