Opportunities in APNSW

Administration Membership

Communications and Policy Officer

Legal Consultant

All applicants must complete the application form in English, making reference to the Term of Reference, including the person specification.  The application should also identify in their experience of working with sex workers and working remotely, their plan for coordinating their work with the APNSW Secretariat and member organization.

This information will be considered and scored in the selection process. For more information to apply, attach with Terms of Reference.


Contact Email: secretariat@apnsw.info

The Asia Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV and AIDS (IGM) kicks-off on Wednesday (28 January 2015).  On the 27th January, there will be a Community Services Organisations (CSO) forum held at UNCC with an expected attendance of approximately 120 people from the community sector who will develop a Community Statement that will address critical issues.  There will be a contingent of sex workers in attendance from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Fiji.  Unzip the Lips will co-convene a side-event, with the inclusion of an APNSW representative, that will be supported by UNDP and UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Gender and HIV/AIDS (IATT).

We will continue to advocate for a gender-sensitive HIV response for key affected women and girls, of which sex workers form a sizeable proportion.

Abstract:   Rights of women and girls living with HIV, female sex workers, women who use drugs, transgender people, mobile and migrant women, girls and young women are women’s rights and human rights!

Many countries in the region are experiencing concentrated epidemics, and the available evidence shows that despite the fact that more men than women are infected with HIV, key HIV affected women and girls continue to bear the socio-economic brunt of the disease. They often face multiple and overlapping forms of stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence and other human rights violations that compound their experience of ill-health, injustice, social marginalization and inequality. The high levels of stigma and discrimination they face, including at institutional settings, directly impact fulfillment of their sexual and reproductive health and rights and their access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. Unequal power relations and gender inequality also contribute to HIV transmission. The overwhelming majority of women in the region get infected with the disease from their long term intimate partners.

Featured imageIn 2014, APNSW was selected as one of two regional delegates representing Asia and the Pacific on the NGO Delegation to UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) for a two year term.  Rani Ravudi from Survivors Advocacy Network in Fiji will represent APNSW in this important role.

UNAIDS was the first United Nations programme to have formal civil society representation on its governing body. It is guided by the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) with representatives from 22 governments, the UNAIDS Cosponsors and an NGO Delegation of 5 delegates and 5 alternate delegates.

The UNAIDS PCB is the key global forum for HIV and AIDS policy. The Delegation is important to the effective inclusion of community voices; Delegates represent the perspectives of civil society, including sex workers, within UNAIDS policies and programming. This represents a unique opportunity for sex workers to articulate critical issues and to make a difference to HIV and AIDS policy implementation.

As we welcome Rani onto the delegation, we must also thank Khartini Slamah who served in this role throughout 2014.  Thank you Tini for your time and commitment in representing APNSW last year.

Welcome Rani and congratulations!

418259_398896283457483_192457938_nAPNSW joins NSWP in condemning the recommendation to criminalise the clients of sex workers by MEP Mary Honeyball in a draft report on Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution and its Impact on Gender Equality for a report to the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee.

There is abundant evidence to show that criminalising sex work has damaging effects,  both in terms of health and human rights outcomes for sex workers.  When clients of sex workers are criminalised, sex workers by extension are criminalised too and are further marginalised and stigmatised. The reported increase in  discrimination against sex workers from settings where clients are currently criminalised extends well beyond community and into NGOs and State institutions.

The conflation of sex work and trafficking particularly troubling as it does not contribute to a public debate in a constructive way. In fact, the issue becomes obscured and is likely to cause more damage to sex workers and trafficked persons due to badly targeted & ill-informed policy responses.  The value of criminalising clients of sex workers is under a cloud as there is no evidence to suggest it is effective in preventing either sex work or trafficking from occurring.    886848_615159821831127_344293926_o

APNSW condemns the stated recommendation and FEMM’s support of it in the strongest possible terms. We do not wish to see the harmful Nordic (Swedish) Model implemented in Europe or anywhere in the world.

APNSW also supports the call for action by The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) asking the Members of European Parliament to reject the report on prostitution and sexual exploitation which recommends the criminalisation of clients of sex workers.

At the same time, we call on the support of women’s organisations around the world to join us in condemning this recommendation and in highlighting the detrimental effects it will undoubtedly visit upon sex workers.

Stop rescuing us!

Stop rescuing us!

The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) supports the recommendations contained in the Global Commission on HIV and the Law’s report HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health (December 2012) published by UNDP & the UNDP, UNFPA, UNAIDS report: Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific (October 2012), respectively.  The former publication was the result of wide consultation with community, civil society and stakeholders globally. We note with interest that Equality Now did not tender a submission to the Commission. The Asia/Pacific report was a collaborative work, that involved member organisations from APNSW working with the UN, which led to this report having such important recommendations.

Accordingly, we condemn the campaign by Equality Now against the UN recommendations to decriminalise sex work.  At the same time, we unreservedly support NSWP in their rejection of this assault on sex workers’ human rights.  This offensive by Equality Now is an attempt to silence sex workers and replace them with handpicked “survivors” to advance the view that all prostitution is “violence against women”.  This redefining of violence further entrenches victimisation of women from the developing world by Western fundamentalist feminists masquerading as liberal feminists.

At the launch of the Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific Report, we warned that there was a concerted push to eradicate prostitution everywhere. The concern we conveyed at that time was founded in historical prejudice visited upon sex workers by so called ‘feminists’.  The evidence shows that if sex workers are empowered to realise their human rights, abuses within the sex industry can be addressed through labour rights and legal recognition.

APNSW categorically rejects Equality Now’s push to have the Swedish Model criminalising clients enacted in this region. We reject the Swedish Model because it is de facto criminalisation of sex work. The intent behind this model is to eradicate the sex industry worldwide, leaving millions sex workers without a livelihood.  We are of the view that sex workers have the right to consent and to have their consent respected.  The idea that women’s consent can be ignored perpetuates gender inequality. The idea that it is okay to ignore a woman’s consent because she is in sex work ignores the fact that women have rights based on multiple identities. If women are not allowed to have their consent acknowledged as sex workers, is their consent ‘allowed’ as migrant women or as workers, for example.

Human trafficking as defined in the Palermo Protocol is a crime.  Given its seriousness and complexity, it is imperative that anti-trafficking measures actually impact trafficking rather than simply promoting a particular ideology about sex work.

We therefore call on all organisations to oppose this attempt by Equality Now to undermine the rights of sex workers.

APNSW Statement, Sept 2013

by Kay Thi Win

The ATHENA network and ASAP have organized meeting at the Global Fund in Geneva: Strengthening Women’s Engagement with the Global Fund to Champion Gender Equality through the New Funding Model and Beyond. The meeting has organized 10th to 12th July 2013 and 23 community participants attended from:  Zimbabwe, Poland, Malawi, Indonesia, Lithuania, Kenya, Uganda, Ukraine, Canada, South Africa, Myanmar, Zambia, Argentina, Thailand, India, Jamaica, Netherlands, Malaysia, China and Swaziland.


The main objectives of the consultation were:

• To build the capacity of women’s rights advocates, especially women living with HIV, to engage at country, regional and global levels with the Global Fund and its New Funding Model (NFM) from a gender equality perspective.

• learn from experience to date and begin to strengthen the capacity of partners in NFM focal country Dialogue process, the development of concept notes, as well as in the implementation motoring and evaluation and revision of forthcoming Global Fund grants.

I have attended the meeting on behalf of sex worker community and share experience on the Global Fund NFM and country dialogue.  In March 2013,  I have attended Global Fund country dialogue on behalf of AMA (AIDS Myanmar Association) which is the national network of sex workers.

I have share experience and suggestion on gender base currently women are not representatives including my country. In future how, we can make sure that Global Fund NFM will work for gender equality. Also this is so much a challenge for us, a sex worker but we have to voice out our voices is strong.

During these days, we have small group discussion on gender gap, develop an action plan.  I recommended a pre-meeting for just community people in future and explain how it works for sex worker consultation with UN and that the GF should organize pre-meeting for consultations.

Finally we have work for  Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee (SIIC) Recommendations which you can read at the link below.

The main points covered were:

• Gender focal point on all CCMs

• Review the inclusion of “Women and girls” in the definition of key populations

• Enhancing documentation of the data, and identify research and data gaps

• Ensure gender equality is in the next Global Fund Strategy.

Also,  National and Regional Actions: build capacity of women through national and regional training on Gender Equality Strategy (GES) & Global Fund mechanisms.

• Bring women into country dialogues including sex workers.

SIIC Letter on Gender recommendations_16_July

I hope I did good job represent sex worker issues for the consultation.

I certainly try my best.

Kay Thi Win

Policy Officer

Sex worker representatives from Asia Pacific region at the SWIT in Accra, Ghana, June 2013.

Sex worker representatives from Asia Pacific region at the SWIT in Accra, Ghana, June 2013.

by: Tracey Tully
Recently,  in June 2013, sixteen sex workers attended a consultation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Accra Ghana to develop an implementation tool to operationalise the guidance on Prevention and treatment of HIV and other STIs for sex workers in low- and middle-income countries.     The meeting was supported by the Gates Foundation and USAID and  of the 50 participants in attendance, one third were sex workers with extensive knowledge of sex worker HIV programming.  NSWP held a pre-meeting the day before the consultation started.  This enabled sex workers to critique each section of the draft,  compile a list of non negotiable points and to develop a strategy for how we would approach the two day consultation. This “sex worker only” session is critical to getting the most out of the consultation.  In fact, when NSWP or APNSW meet with UN on important consultations, we now insist on them funding a pre-meeting as a part of the overall process.
We found that most of our requests were considered reasonable and we managed to reach agreement on most things.  Sex workers went in with a clear vision to not vie from the Guidance, or what has affectionately come to be known as the ‘Pink Book’. We tried not to get bogged down in word-smithing, instead opting for driving forward the principles behind our participation in developing The Pink Book.  Two sex workers each engaged about a section and the feedback sessions from section consultations were presented by sex workers.    It still remains to be seen whether what was agreed at the consultation is accurately reflected in the final document.  We hope so and expect things to go as planned. It is important to retain the integrity of the process that has been demonstrated thus far.
SWIT consultation.  Sex workers co-presented.

SWIT consultation. Sex workers co-presented.

From the 30 June– 3 July 2013, the 7TH International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   In the leadup to the conference was a two day community forum held with stakeholders from across the HIV sector. Andrew Hunter chaired a session on Day 1 entitledIAS 2013 Community Forum invitation TasP Implementation Science Research Agenda- Concept noteThe meeting had attendees representing a diverse group of researchers, technical experts, policymakers and civil society representatives.  Day two was the more community focused session, so there were plenty of people in attendance from local groups. IAS 2013 Community Forum invitation with Dr Rachel Baggaley of WHO on the experience of SWIT process and spoke briefly about the implications for sex worker organisations on the ground, of the PEPFAR pledge being struck down by the US Supreme Court.  In the short term it will depend on US-based INGOs currently working with sex worker in low to middle income countries developing a policy that aspires to be sex worker led.  We hope to see a gradual shift of power away from top-heavy programming models to models that recognise the intrinsic value of sex worker self determination.   We will continue to lobby for International NGOs to be able to access PEPFAR funding and would ask USAID to consider the ethical implications of funding programmes that violate the free speech rights of anybody, anywhere.  Shiba from APN+ presented on the threat TPP poses to generic medicines.
March against TPP which threatens access to affordable treatment

March against TPP which threatens access to affordable treatment

On the Day the main Conference conference began, Malaysian and regional HIV activists marched through the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and presented a memorandum to the President of the IAS seeking support to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that threaten access to life saving treatment.  By the end of that day, IAS released a statement in support of our request.  We even got coverage in the Washington Post.  The fight to keep generic medicines on the market is under threat due to TPP and the danger posed by this agreement threatens not only access to affordable medicines for all,  but our ability to end AIDS in Asia by 2015.

All in all, the this scientific conference was more community friendly than any held before. The session on Sex Work Research covered PrEP which is an issue worthy of input from sex workers. This was discussed extensively at the SWIT consultation in Ghana.     It is probably not worth spending vast sums of money to send people this conference, but it is important to have some representation from your community to contribute to discussions.   .


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