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.
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.
The definition of criminal offenses, the selective implementation of the law, and the resulting stereotypes generate a self-enforcing loop of discrimination and exclusion to the detriment of all. The exclusion of so many legitimate voices from this year’s AIDS conference is just one example.
We will only be able to get people into treatment early, and retain them in treatment, if we finally move from rhetoric to real action on HIV and human rights.
The US immigration rules place restrictions on the ability of sex workers and people who use drugs to enter the country. These rules are but one example of the many ways in which national and international laws, regulations and policies are impacting on the HIV vulnerability of most at-risk groups across the world.
Drug users and sex workers represent the majority of people living with HIV in many countries, and are among the most at-risk of infection everywhere. The irony of allowing people living with HIV to the conference while refusing those likeliest to be—or become—infected has not been lost on everyone.
The report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, released today, recommends the repeal of laws that prohibit consenting adults from buying or selling sex. The recommendations will be a powerful advocacy tool for sex workers at both international and local levels.
Sex workers and allies demand US policy change in lead up to the International AIDS Conference.
This year’s New York State legislative session has ended, and by failing to vote on and pass the “no condoms as evidence of prostitution” bill, lawmakers missed an opportunity to be national and global leaders in ensuring that counterproductive policing and prosecuting practice does not compromise disease prevention and public health.
Rights-based public health measures should seek to protect all people from HIV infection, and provide those who are HIV-positive with the tools to live healthier lives.