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The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) would like to take this opportunity to express its support for Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, who in July 2020 was appointed as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

NSWP has published a statement in response to the recent influx of consultations that seek to include sex worker voices from around the world. You can download the 2-page statement as a PDF above or read the text below. 

17th December 2019 marks the 16th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

For sixteen years, sex workers around the world have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers. The issues faced by sex workers often vary from region to region, 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

17th December 2018 marks the 15th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

For fifteen years, sex workers around the world have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers. The issues faced by sex workers often vary from region to region, 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

An alliance of key population-led networks, networks of people living with HIV, treatment activists, and supporters has formed to organise an international community-led HIV conference in 2020, following the decision to host the 2020 International AIDS Conference in the USA.

NSWP denounces the harassment, arrests and detention of sex workers as part of the recently launched ‘Ujana’ programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

17 December 2017 marks the 14th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

For fourteen years, sex workers around the world have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers. The issues faced by sex workers often vary from region to region, 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.

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

NSWP has formally replied to UN Women's consultation "seeking views on UN Women approach to sex work, the sex trade and prostitution." This letter, sent to UN Women on the 21st of September, 2016, includes NSWP's responses to the three questions asked by UN Women in their online consultation. In addition to this letter, NSWP has published an online petition calling on UN Women to meaningfully include sex workers in the development of their policy on sex work. NSWP has also provided UN Women with a Draft Framework for a UN Women Human Rights Affirming Approach to Sex Work in response to UN Women E-Consultation.

Download this resource: UN Women Consultation, NSWP - 2016

NSWP has published a draft framework for a UN Women human rights affirming approach to sex work in response to a UN women e-consultation. NSWP received an invitation from UN Women to participate in a formal e-consultation on the 7 September 2016. However, such a process is biased towards those with privilege and will exclude the majority of sex workers in the global south who have limited access to the Internet. This resource for UN Women is in addition to NSWP's online petition of UN Women available here. Please sign and share the petition!

Gay Men, Transgender People and Sex Workers Outraged Over Failed Political Declaration From the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects, The Global Network of Trans Women and HIV (IRGT), Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE),  and MSMGF (The Global Forum on MSM & HIV) together with the Global Platform to Fast-Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses Among Gay and Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (The Platform) are deeply disappointed by the adoption of a flawed Political Declaration today at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS (HLM).  The Political Declaration inexcusably fails to meaningfully address the HIV epidemic among key populations, including gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, and transgender people.

Gay men and sex workers worldwide express anger over attempts by governments to erase key populations from the 2016 UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.

On May 27th, new draft language was released for the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, which is scheduled to be finalized in New York City next week (Wednesday, June 8 to Friday, June 10) at the United Nations. The Global Network of Sex Work Projects and MSMGF (The Global Forum on MSM & HIV) together with the Global Platform to Fast-Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses Among Gay and Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (The Platform) are deeply concerned with numerous changes made in the new draft, which erase key populations from the global HIV response.  As the final political declaration will be issued during next week’s United Nations High-level Meeting on HIV and AIDS, we urge our partners to take bold and fast actions now to influence decisions made by UN delegation members.

NSWP welcomes Amnesty International’s Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfill the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Amnesty International calls for the decriminalisation of all aspects of adult consensual sex work including all laws which criminalise sex workers, clients, and third parties. Amnesty International also calls for the end of the discriminatory enforcement of other laws against sex workers, such as vagrancy, loitering, and immigration requirements.

NSWP wishes to clarify a number of issues in the light of some recent media coverage on the subject of the decriminalisation of sex work. Several articles have appeared recently that have made some alarmist and extremely misleading statements in response to an original article in the New York Times Magazine (published 5th May 2016).

As a sex worker-led global network with 262 member organisations across 77 countries from Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America, representing tens of thousands of sex workers from diverse cultures and experiences, NSWP has a fundamental right to be involved in consultations around international and national policies that impact on sex workers’ lives and work. Attempting to silence sex workers by denying our agency and calling us pimps, traffickers and industry lobbyists is unacceptable.

The sex workers’ rights movement is committed to the full decriminalisation of sex work in the belief that it will help sex workers organise to eliminate exploitation, oppression and violence and address unfair and abusive working conditions instituted by state and non-state actors. Branding the decriminalisation of third parties as an attempt to ‘legalise pimps and brothel keeping’ undermines sex workers in their struggle for labour rights and justice.

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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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

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 Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) stands by Human Rights Defender Alejandra Gil and Amnesty International’s decision to adopt a policy to protect the human rights of sex workers, including the full decriminalisation of sex work.

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The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) would like to take this opportunity to express our support for Amnesty International’s Resolution and draft policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work, tabled for adoption at the International Council Meeting, 6-11th August 2015. This draft policy is backed up by the findings of country-based research carried out by Amnesty International on the human rights impact of the criminalisation of sex work, and also on the consultation in 2014, which included input from many sex workers around the world – the community most affected by the proposals.

NSWP would also like to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the CATW statement, open letter and online petition attacking Amnesty International's proposals. CATW’s position is stigmatising, discriminatory and misrepresents the facts, conflating sex work with human trafficking. Most importantly it ignores the lived experiences of sex workers, silences their voices and seeks to perpetuate legal systems which place sex workers at increased risk of violence, stigmatisation, and discrimination; as well as limiting their access to health and social services. Furthermore, CATW is ignoring the overwhelming body of evidence and the findings of international bodies such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, who recommend that governments should work towards the decriminalisation of sex work and The Lancet which recently published a special series on HIV and Sex Workers, which also recommends the decriminalisation of sex work and reported “Decriminalisation of sex work would have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings, averting 33–46% of HIV infections in the next decade.”

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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