Archive for March, 2009

This is a monograph by Cheryl Overs about  events surrounding the introduction of the Suppression Exploitation and Human Trafficking in Cambodia in 2008. We welcome suggestions for corrections or modifications for the final draft, discussion about the law and relevant updates.

The APNSW March 2009.

Click here for PDF file:    caught-between-the-tiger-and-the-crocodile


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Sex Workers Group Wins HIV and Rights Award APNSW Honored at AIDS Conference (Mexico City, August 6, 2008)

Sex Workers Group Wins HIV and Rights Award APNSW Honored at AIDS Conference (Mexico City, August 6, 2008)

Sex Workers Group Wins HIV and Rights Award Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers Honored at AIDS Conference (Mexico City, August 6, 2008) – The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) is the recipient of the 2008 international Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch announced today. The award, which recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, was presented in Mexico City on August 6, 2008, at the XVII International AIDS Conference. “Sex workers routinely face human rights abuses, including the discriminatory denial of health services, arbitrary detention by police, harassment, and sexual and physical violence,” said Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (www.aidslaw.ca). “This award recognizes the extraordinary contribution of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers in the struggle for sex workers’ rights.” Since 1994, the network has represented sex workers in various policy and educational forums, promoting the participation of sex workers in HIV/AIDS programs and supporting dialogue between nongovernmental organizations, governments and activists. The group has challenged the increasing criminalization of all forms of sex work and unethical drug trials with sex workers as subjects. The Asia Pacific network has shaped policy at the global and regional levels, and built the capacity of local grassroots sex worker organizations, including creating a network of transgender activists. Throughout Asia, the network has been challenging gender-based violence, promoting access to health care for sex workers, and advocating for the decriminalization of sex workers. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Asia Pacific Network for Sex Workers,” said Andrew Hunter, the Network’s policy director. “International recognition of sex workers’ human rights, and the active inclusion of sex workers, are important elements of efforts to curb the HIV pandemic. Governments and UN agencies need to hear – and heed — this message. We need sustainable, comprehensive HIV prevention and care initiatives for sex workers that are community-led and aim to protect and promote sex workers’ human rights.” The stigmatization, social exclusion and legal marginalization of sex workers contribute to human rights violations, and can exacerbate their risk of HIV infection. Increasingly, according to the Asia Pacific Network, anti-trafficking efforts and laws criminalizing transactional sex have resulted in violence and human rights abuses faced by sex workers at the hands of police. The organization pointed to new anti-trafficking legislation in Cambodia, where sex workers have been sent to “rehabilitation” centers and subjected to sexual violence and beatings, and had little access to healthcare or food. “Being a part of APNSW – working in solidarity with tens of thousands of sex workers in the region – has allowed us to challenge the way the authorities have applied this law in Cambodia and to gain strength to bring this issue to international attention” said Kao Tha from the Women’s Network for Unity, a sex worker rights organization in Cambodia. “The International AIDS Conference presents a forum in which to focus worldwide attention on the epidemic and our global response,” said Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch (www.hrw.org/hivaids). “Unfortunately, too often that response has been tainted by prejudice and misinformation. Only by ensuring the health and human rights of sex workers will governments, UN agencies, donors and non-governmental groups be effective at reducing the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV infection. The Asia Pacific Network’s work epitomizes this.” The Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights were established in 2002 by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch. An award is presented annually to one Canadian and one international recipient. This year’s Canadian recipient was Peter Collins, a prisoner and health activist in Ontario, Canada. To learn more about the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers, please visit:





For Immediate Release / Embargoed Until Wednesday August 6th, 2 pm Central Daylight Time (UTC – 5 hours)

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