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Today marks the 12th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. For twelve 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.

Theme: Violence

This community-based research by the Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) is about sex workers’ experiences of state and non-state violence, and hindered attempts to access justice in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The study was undertaken in sixteen countries of our region, with local research teams comprised of sex workers and allies joining efforts. It provides an insight on how stigma and the criminalization of sex work enables daily violence and repression that sex workers face from police and non-state actors. This entails barriers to accessing legal aid and justice, as well as harm reduction, health or social services.

Theme: Violence

Sixty-five sex workers were arrested on Thursday 19th November in Kisii County, Kenya. The following day, the sex workers were taken to Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital and tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The leading officer from the Kisii Governor’s Office, Mr. Patrick Lumumba, stated there were too many sex workers loitering the streets of Kisii, “spreading HIV and STIs to married men”.

The regional report of this multi-country study contains findings and recommendations to address violence experienced by sex workers in Asia.  Sex workers experience extreme physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence at work, in health care and custodial settings, in their neighbourhoods and in their homes. This violence denies sex workers their fundamental human rights — to equal protection under the law; protection against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and their right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

NSWP statement strongly condemning the recent report released by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security for failing to recognise the grave violations to Norwegian sex workers’ human rights that are taking place with state impunity under the current model that bans the purchase of sex. NSWP urges the Norwegian Government to listen to the experiences of sex workers and acknowledge that the criminalisation of the purchase of sex in Norway is resulting in health and human rights violations of sex workers.

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