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Today marks the 13th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. For thirteen years, sex workers have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers.

The issues faced by sex workers vary from region to region. These differences are due to different laws, social and cultural contexts, but one common issue faced by all sex workers is their vulnerability to and experience of violence.

This global statement draws attention to the fact that all sex workers are vulnerable to violence because of the criminalisation and legal oppression of sex work, stigma, and discrimination. This vulnerability to violence is increased for sex workers living with HIV, sex workers who use drugs, transgender sex workers, migrant sex workers, and sex workers that are part of other marginalised groups.

Theme: Violence

Midnight Blue has published their report Cases of Arrested Transgender Sex Workers which documents the human rights abuses faced by transgender sex workers in detention. Up until June 2016, Midnight Blue has monitoried the cases of 40 transgender sex workers who were arrested in Hong Kong. Many transgender sex workers in Hong Kong are migrant sex workers, and after their detention is complete they are often deported. Midnight Blue is demanding the criminal justice system review the human rights abuses against transgender sex workers in detention in Hong Kong.

Theme: Violence

This policy brief on the Decriminalisation of Sex Work in Kenya was written in collaborartion with the University of Amsterdam and NSWP member HOYMAS and KESWA. This policy brief argues that sex workers have the same rights as other citizens in Kenya as outlined in the Kenyan Constitution. The brief describes key instances in which the rights of sex workers as defined by the Constitution are violated in Kenya.

NSWP is calling on the Turkish government, Turkish police, and the Turkish justice system to take urgent action to uphold the human rights of male, female, and transgender sex workers. Sex workers have the same right to protection from the law and access to justice as other people. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect without discrimination. The occupation and gender identity of sex workers should never be used to deny access to justice, health services, or social services.

According to a 2015 survey by Transgender Europe entitled Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide Project, 79 percent of transgender sex workers interviewed in Turkey reported experiencing police harassment. According to the Project for the Mapping of Violence Against and Legal Support for Trans Sex Workers, one in every two sex workers has experienced violence, and 50 percent of this violence was perpetrated by the police.

Transgender sex workers in Turkey are particularly vulnerable to violence, including from the police. In May 2015, NSWP published an article about seven transgender women who were violently attacked in different cities across Turkey. Two days after these attacks, more than 100 people gathered in Ankara to protest about violence against transgender people in Turkey.

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