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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To label and disregard sex workers as “victims” who cannot comprehend their true “enslavement” is condescending, disempowering, and untrue.
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.
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.
Sex worker activists and allies in the global movement for sexual health, justice, and human rights celebrated as the United States recognized the basic rights of sex workers.
The American sex worker rights movement has a long way to go, and we can learn a lot from activists in other parts of the world. For example, there are eight countries in Europe that accept sex workers trade unions branches in pre-existing unions. In India, I met sex workers who are illiterate and live in one room buildings without electricity – but they can talk fiercely about human rights, language which is all but absent from our movement.