To label and disregard sex workers as “victims” who cannot comprehend their true “enslavement” is condescending, disempowering, and untrue.
Greece has been in the news for prosecuting HIV positive sex workers and posting the women’s photographs on the Internet. The Greek health authorities and many other governments and local authorities that have taken similar actions against sex workers have both the human rights and the public health very wrong.
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.
This month, one of Belgium’s women’s rights organizations, zij-kant, caused quite a stir with their annual “Equal Pay Day” message. Instead of merely high-lighting that women in Belgium, on average, earn 22 percent less than men, the organization launched a video starring porn actress Sasha Grey with the message “Porn is about the only way women can earn more than men—find a better alternative.”
Sex workers deserve the basic respect and protection from violence that each nation owes its citizens. But in many settings, police abuse of sex workers receives scant public attention despite its entrenched global reality.
A federal court today ruled that the government cannot force U.S. organizations to “denounce” prositution and sex trafficking as a condition for recieving international HIV and AIDS funding. The ruling applies only to U.S.-based non-governmental organizations and does not relieve non-U.S. organizations recieving U.S. funds from being subject to restrictions.
Louisiana’s era of forcing certain convicted sex workers to register as sex offenders appears to be over. Governor Jindall’s office announced today that he had signed into law a bill, sponsored by Louisiana State Representative Charmaine Marchand Stiaes, that effectively moves prostitution convictions back to the level of misdemeanor.
Washington, DC has created a spectrum of punitive laws that lead to and exacerbate unsafe work environments for sex workers and contribute to the skyrocketing rates of HIV infection among vulnerable populations in the District.
The Justice Department has dropped its appeal of an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the controversial "prostitution pledge" in US Global AIDS Policy. Advocates hope this signals an intention to fundamentally change the restriction.
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."