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.
Aboriginal sex workers are subject to dual discrimination, experience high rates of violence, including murder, and high rates of HIV among other outcomes associated with violations of their human rights.
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.
The State Department’s new Trafficking in Persons report suggests that the Obama administration will opt for evidence-based responses to trafficking over putting restrictions on women "for their own good."
Forbes India today evaluates Avahan, the $258 million Gates Foundation HIV prevention initiative on the ground in India. And the program doesn’t fare well.
The White House’s appointment of Luis de Baca to be the head of the Trafficking In Persons office suggests that it appreciates the importance of a harm reduction approach to the problem of trafficking.
Does U.S. foreign policy combat HIV and trafficking, or combat women working in the sex sector?