Archive for September, 2009

Paradoxical and shocking though it may seem, human rights are
being used to violate sex workers rights. The very framework
of human rights does this because it depends on interpretation
– and interpretation is easily laced with social prejudice. When,
as is often the case, sex work is interpreted as removing a
woman’s ‘dignity’, and being of moral harm to all women, then
the principle of indivisibility – all rights are equally important –
becomes an oppressive tool to those who want to practice sex
work for economic or other reasons. The right to do sex work is
dismissed because sex work is deemed oppressive and a human
rights violation to women. Perhaps what is more disturbing is
that everybody thinks this is correct. In the name of human rights,
unethical and even violent actions against sex work populations
are not only widely endorsed, but given accolades.

Click below for PDF file:
Who stole the tarts_small


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In 2008 APNSW released this report on issues for sex workers regarding new prevention technologies.
With the debates around PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) heating up, and today’s release of the results of the Thai Prime-Boost vaccine trials it is more important than ever for sex workers and sex worker groups to start debating the issues and preparing for the impact of new prevention technologies on sex workers and in the sex industry.

Click below for PDF file:
Sex Work and the New Era of HIV Prevention and Care

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APNSW has been part of the first International Social Action Film Festival to be organised in Asia, by the group Sinema in Singapore.
On Saturday we attended a film showing and a panel discussion where Elaine from Zi Teng in Hong Kong spoke, and we then met with people who are setting up a sex workers’ project in Singapore. Selvi, from the APNSW board spoke with them in depth about the issues and plans to network with them in the future from KL.
On Monday we showed 2 APNSW films and one film from WNU in Cambodia on the Tenofovir trial. Another film called Pecah Lobang (English= Busted), which was made with PT Foundation in Malaysia about the issues for TG sex workers under Syariah law was also shown. Afterwards Dale, Selvi and I took part in a panel discussion along with Leona Lo, a TG activist and artist from Singapore. http://leonalo.wordpress.com

There was a lot of interest in the films on the situation in Cambodia, and discussions of how and if similar issues applied in Singapore. Singapore has a weird ‘legal’ system of sex work regulation where foreign workers can get permits to work in licensed brothels if they get the correct visa and submit to mandatory testing. This helps back up the assertion that their are “no Singaporeans” working as sex workers- but it just means local sex workers have to work outside the system; and it means migrant sex workers who can’t get a permit and a “yellow card” have to work outside the system as well. Human rights and migrant rights organisations in Singapore are finally starting to take these issues up and are, thankfully, working from the premise that sex work and trafficking are two very different things. We’ll be trying to network with them in the future.

Sinema did a great job of organising this first festival, including the difficult task of getting us our foreign speakers permits from the police who obviously tow the government line that sex work is not an issue for Singaporeans. We plan to work with them to show a selection of films on sex work issues from across Asia and the Pacific on December 17 to mark International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers; as well as working to get a bigger selection of films and art work to show here for next years Social Action Film Festival.



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