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A Good Year for Red Umbrellas: Advances in Sex Workers Rights in 2012


All activists have good years, bad years and the rare great one. For sex worker rights activists 2012 was a great year.

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California’s Prop 35: A Misguided Ballot Initiative Targeting the Wrong People for the Wrong Reasons

Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr.

California voters hold the power this Election Day to decide if many thousands of people convicted of prostitution-related offenses in their state must now register as sex offenders.

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Why Sex Workers Must Be Part of the Global Human Rights Agenda

India's National Network of Sex Workers in the Freedom Festival in Calcutta, India. 07/2012. Photos: Luca Stevenson.

If we intend to develop policies that are fair and just, we must collaborate with sex workers themselves to afford them the dignity that they and all of us deserve. It’s time for sex workers’ rights to be an integrated part of the global human rights agenda.

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Global AIDS Policy: Still Rife With Stigma and Discrimination

If we are fighting HIV, we need to join hands no matter whether we are straight, gay, sex workers, whatever…but with no discrimination. This is high time we tell the US government they should respect all human rights – whether you are a sex worker, straight, gay, disabled. We are all equal.

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A Call to Change U.S. Policy on Sex Work and HIV

Kaytee Riek.

The U.S. law that prohibits sex workers and drug users from attending the IAC from abroad is a frightening sign of the times. As co-directors of two U.S-based sex workers rights organizations, we stand with sex workers in their global fight for rights.

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Our Current Approach to Sex Work: Flawed Laws, Flawed Policies, and Flawed Programs Will Not Right Our Wrongs

May 2012 sex worker protest in Satara, India. Vidya Kulkarni.

Freedom from abuse and violence is a human right that we will continue to fight for at every forum, including the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, which is on at Kolkata at the same time as the International AIDS Conference takes place in Washington DC.

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It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Defend Sex Workers’ Rights in Uganda

©IAS/Steve Forrest.

Sex work may be illegal in Uganda but providing services for sex workers is not. Because of our status as sex workers, we are being left out of many social services, especially health services.

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Why the Women’s Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

Sex workers organized by Kthi Win. [img src]

To label and disregard sex workers as “victims” who cannot comprehend their true “enslavement” is condescending, disempowering, and untrue. 

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Empire State Stupidity: New York’s Condom Policies Undermine Public Health and Human Rights

When deciding whether to charge an individual with prostitution, New York City police officers routinely consider if that person was carrying condoms. Even more disturbing, officers frequently destroy condoms in an attempt to get people not to sell sex for money.  Two new reports examine the impact of this misguided law which seems to directly conflict with the city’s ongoing efforts to promote condom use. 

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Global Roundup: Are Anti-Trafficking Efforts Doing More Harm Than Good?

Samira Ibrahim via Global Post

Weekly global roundup: “virginity test” doctor is acquitted in Egypt while women’s football gathers momentum; condoms may literally save South Africa; a rosier picture of sex work in Thailand; journalist threatened for exposing female genital cutting in Liberia; and a steamy drama series in Kenya tackles sexual taboos.

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