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WNU organises Protest in Phnom Penh Against EU-India Free Trade Agreement

CAMBODIAN PEOPLE’S STATEMENT

To: H.E. Dinesh K. Pataik, Ambassador of the Republic of India in Cambodia
EU-INDIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT ON GENERIC DRUGS
Phnom Penh, April 9, 2013

Dear H.E Dinesh K. Pataik

We, Cambodian garment workers, sex workers, entertainment workers, people living with HIV, LGBTs, university students, feminists and human right activists from different networks and organisations came together to express our concern about the threat posed by the forthcoming EU-India free trade agreement to the lives of millions of people in Cambodia and many other developing countries across the world. Numerous reports inform us that the FTA negotiation between the EU and India is about to conclude. We are concerned that the EU-India FTA will create another uneven and unequal relation of so-called free trade that more often than not favours richer countries and larger businesses at the expense of poor farmers and workers in developing countries. More importantly, we are particularly alarmed by the severe damage that the forthcoming EU-India FTA may cause to the lives of millions of people in poor countries like Cambodia.

We have been informed about the repeated attempt of the EU to include Intellectual Property Rights provisions that are very likely to undermine the stable supply of affordable life-saving medicines to poorer parts of the world. It is extremely worrisome that, despite assurance made by the Indian government regarding its determination not to include any measures hampering the production and provision of affordable generic medicines, the EU continues to put pressure on the Indian counterpart to accept Data Exclusivity, Intellectual Property Enforcement Measures and Investment Rules, all of which are designed to protect the interests of European pharmaceutical giants by curbing the availability of generic medicines cheaply produced in India. It is apparent that these provisions aim to secure bigger profits for large European pharmaceutical corporations and discourage production of cheap generic medicines in India, which have been saving millions of lives across the world.
We are saddened that behind the rhetoric of democracy, human rights and freedom the EU is in fact prioritising corporate interests to the lives of millions of people. It is needless to say that those affordable generic drugs are absolutely vital for the lives of millions who otherwise cannot afford expensive treatment of life threatening diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV-AIDS. Many suffering from such serious diseases would not be able to survive without these generic drugs produced in India.

In Cambodia alone, 75,000 people living with HIV rely heavily on generic medicines for their survival. According to the projection of the Cambodia’s National Center for HIV/AIDS (NCHADS), Dermatology and STI, 48,000 out of 75,000 people living with HIV are now on ARVs and Cambodia relies hugely on the generic drugs supported by donors. According to UNAIDS, in 2009 the budget spent of treatment service is about US$15 million per year. We believe that if generic drugs from India made unavailable HIV treatment cost for each Cambodian patient will increase about 15 times from current US$175 to more than US$2,500 a month. Any measures to make such treatment unaffordable to the poor population will pose an imminent threat to the lives of those people and their families including their children.

Having seen the importance of made-in-India generic drugs for the lives of millions, we in no ways can express our frustration about the attempt of EU and European pharmaceutical giants to control the production of these cheap medicines. This must stop right now. It is a true example of putting profits before people’s lives and take advantage of people’s illness for corporate profits. Our lives should not be regarded as a business opportunity.

We urge the EU to reconsider its pursuit of intellectual property rights for medicines and to realise that blindly protecting the interests of large European pharmaceutical corporations will lead to nothing but a subtle form of genocide of the poor, their families and children in developing countries across the world. WE DEMAND:

1. The EU to stop attempting to introduce measures aiming to undermine the production and distribution of Indian generic drugs essential for the lives of millions of people across the world.

2. The EU to stop using FTA to threaten India and sovereignty of the Indian people.

3. The EU to take PEOPLE before profit.

4. The Indian government to resist such attempts of the EU and by all means continue producing and distributing generic drugs for the welfare of the poor.

5. All governments to discard all kinds of FTAs that affect people in poor countries negatively.

We the Cambodian grassroots people from different networks and organisations again strongly urge the EU and Indian government to think about the long-term consequence of such a trade agreement in order for them not to be remembered as a threat to humanity. Otherwise, they will face a huge pressure from international civil society and people’s movements for human dignity. We will continue to struggle against such an attempt to turn our lives into business opportunities, in solidarity with people of India and other developing countries who deserve decent healthy life as much as anyone in the developed world.

OUR LIVES ARE NOT FOR SALE!

HEALTH CARE IS NOT A COMMODITY!

9 April 2013, endorsed by Cambodian networks and organisations including:

1. Action for Environment and Communities (AEC)

2. Cambodian Prostitute Union (CPU)

3. Cambodian Community of Women Living with HIV (CCW)

4. Cambodian MSM Positive Network (CMPN+)

5. Cambodian Network of Men and Women for Development (CNMWD)

6. Cam-ASEAN

7. Messenger Band (MB)

8. National Network of Entertainment Workers (NNEW)

9. People’s Action for Change

10. Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK)

11. Social Action for Change

12. Women’s Network for Unity (WNU)

13. Worker’s Information Center (WIC)

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The inaugural Trust Women Conference was held in London recently, supported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Herald Tribune. I was invited to speak on a panel entitled ‘how to put the anti-trafficking business out of business‘ with people who address the issue of sex trafficking including infamous abolitionist, Ruchira Gupta.

'how to put the trafficking business out of business'

‘how to put the trafficking business out of business’

In the days leading up to the  conference, Gupta had issued a series of media offensives upon sex workers which began last weekend with an attack on peer educators in the Indian press. Liz Ford, who is the Deputy Editor of The Guardian’s Global Development section and an apparent abolitionist sympathiser, appeared at the conference only to provide an outlet for Ms Gupta’s unfounded characterisations of women engaged in sex work. Ford falsely claimed in The Guardian that Ruchira Gupta is an ‘activist for sex workers‘. I presume this was a device to undermine any authority derived from my self-disclosure as a sex worker, on the panel discussion that followed these defamatory stories.

Ford published two articles based upon the same interview with Gupta, which  made horrifying and illusory allegations about sex worker activists; in particular those who attended the Sex Worker Freedom Festival in Kolkata earlier this year.  She called attendees “pimps and traffickers” . Gupta spoke using the usual alarmist and disempowering rhetoric that abolitionists tend to employ, invoking terms such as “brutalised”; “raped”; “invaded”; “used-up at 30″ to describe sex work. Predictably, she suggested the need for even more punitive measures against people associated with the sex industry and more funding to combat the problem from “the grassroots”.  It’s illuminating to see what two Harvard undergraduate donors thought about Ms Gupta’s ‘grassroots intitiatives‘ in 2010 after visiting one of her sites.

However

The sensible shoe award for most stigmatising headline of 2012 goes to…..

Guardian journalist Liz Ford  Liz Ford of The Guardian! 

 “Life of a sex worker: disease, abortion,

  debt bondage and death – video.”

One wonders how Ford would react to publicly being labelled a ‘pimp’ or a ‘trafficker’ or whether the woman has any sense of decency at all. What an absolute, unmitigated nerve!

Still, the most shocking claim came to be when Gupta uttered the words, “the average age of a prostitute in India is between 9 and 13“. This alarming statistic was framed in the context of globalisation and the egregious effects of neoliberalisation policies which she claimed was driving demand for prostitutes that are younger and younger.  I mused about where she might have pulled that figure, other than out of thin air. I promptly concluded that she was conflating two figures that abolitionists throw around a lot: the oft-quoted and oft-debunked figure that the ‘average age of entry into prostitution is 13‘ and the research Melissa Farley did in Aotearoa (New Zealand) where she claimed that the ‘average age of entry into prostitution for Maori women was 9.’  In this instance however, Gupta was not even claiming an ‘average age of entry’.  No Siree. This was the average age of a prostitute in India!

Cover of conference booklet on trafficking and prostitution.

Cover of conference booklet on trafficking and prostitution.

What was most striking about the psychological warfare waged upon me by these two somewhat influential women, was how readily prepared they were to employ violent tactics in order to discredit and isolate me from the conference proper. They did this by colluding to proliferate untruths about sex workers; by characterising sex workers involved in the HIV response as ‘pimps and traffickers’ and the rest as people who are “deeply damaged”. Their conduct was coercive inasmuch as they have enough power within patriarchal catacombs such as the mainstream press, to be able to use it in a cynical way to issue their message. Not only did they use the press as a vehicle to spread their ideology, but it was also a systematic attempt to discredit me, as an activist in APNSW, in the mind of anyone who might have viewed those stories prior to hearing what I had to say to the conference.

The logic seems to work as follows: if you have ever worked in the sex industry and you are unwilling to announce that the experience utterly destroyed your life and robbed you of a sense of self,  you are suffering from some kind of disorder.  Let’s call it ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. You have become so accustomed to the ‘brutalization’ of having accepted money for sex, that you consider brutalization to be normal.  Spectators who haven’t suffered ‘death by Powerpoint’ by this stage, must remain alert and remember that these are not the voices of sex workers you are hearing. They are storytellers in the business of telling fictional stories.   Coincidentally it is men and women like Ms Gupta who are in possession of the solutions for the poor  funding stream that is ‘women & girls’ who are unfortunate enough to fall within their purview and be categorised as “trafficked”. And there are a lot of men in the ‘slavery expert’ business. Knights in shining armour abound.

Another noteworthy aspect of the Guardian video is when Gupta iterates that the point of the Trust Women Conference was to focus on the “demand” side of prostitution as a way to fight trafficking.  Here, she and Liz Ford are informing Guardian readers about the primary focus of the conference even prior to the scheduled panel discussion on what the most effective interventions to fight human trafficking might possibly be. The International Herald Tribune did not cover the “women for sale” day in such a pre-determined light and they organised the conference.

The kind of maltreatment I received from Ford and Gupta used to be solely the provenance of the ‘old boys club’.  This is a slightly more sophisticated incarnation of that; where the abuse is being perpetrated by women against one woman (but who is the only representative of millions of sex working women allowed in)…  And it is being done in the name of Feminism. The most ironic aspect of their strategic alliance is that The Guardian Global Development section is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation whose programmes for sex workers in India are the subject of constant malicious attacks by Ms Gupta and her organisation Apne Aap.  She also calls them pimps and traffickers. How fortuitous for Ms Ford that she can heave her ideological cake and eat it too. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

On the panel, Mexican journalist and winner of the Trust Women Award, Lydia Cacho spoke about ‘ending demand’ for  prostitution and the success of the program she runs in Cancun, sensitising boys between 14-18 to not become clients.   The Body Shop guy basically covered for his employer L’oreal, the second largest chemical company in the world which has been accused of greenwashing  and has a demonstrably atrocious history of animal rights abuses.  He called for ‘human trafficking-free’ labeling that guaranteed trafficked-free products.  The Not for Sale guy talked about social marketing initiatives in what appears to be an ethical (Christian?) capitalist scheme that produces soups and juices to sell to sex workers and “vulnerable women”. He stated that he had half a million dollars in pledges for this venture and a call for matched funding of that figure became one of the inputs from our session.  I stressed the need for empirical data on human trafficking and the importance of a consistent definition of terms used in relation to trafficking and the need to gain some clarity before we talk about ‘best practice’ interventions on human trafficking.

Lawyer Karen Silverman, the only panelist with whom I vaguely connected on a human level, iterated the importance of broadening the discussion on migration rights, citizenship rights and labour rights. Although she was approaching the issue from a different perspective, it was refreshing to be in the company of someone who wasn’t just focused on getting a piece of the Anti-trafficking Pie. She also highlighted the fact that many trafficked women are held in custody for long periods of time and that we need to devise strategies to address this problem.

partner NGOs: Equality Now; IJM; Polaris Project; Not for Sale.

partner NGOs: Equality Now; IJM; Polaris Project; Not for Sale.

I was the final speaker on the panel and began by explaining that the advent of the anti-trafficking industry has resulted in an increase in violence against sex workers.  I stated that the impact of criminalisation had driven sex workers underground, making them prone to violence, increased health risks and coercive treatment from others.  I went into some detail about the regularity of human rights abuses that are occurring in arbitrary detention settings in Cambodia, such as the Somaly Mam Foundation and her organisation AFESIP as reported to sex worker organisations in Cambodia. I stated that these abuses were catalogued in a Human Rights Watch Report from 2010.  I warned people consuming human trafficking narratives to be wary of statistics that are quoted and to question the quality of anecdotal information received.  I went on to speak about the recent revelation in the Cambodian press that a high profile story being regurgitated in the mass media had been proven to be untrue.  Long Pross is a young Cambodian woman who is being touted by Somaly Mam’s Voices for Change  program as a victim with an unimaginably horrendous history of being trafficked as a child and having her eye gouged out by the brothel owner. Her story has been exposed as a complete fabrication by an investigative journalist who interviewed a string of people involved, including Long Pross’ parents; the surgeon who removed her eye and the tumor she developed at age 7 ;and the Cambodian anti-trafficking Police whose records revealed that no complaint had ever been filed in relation to this woman being trafficked as a child.

I stated that Long Pross had appeared with celebrities such as Meg Ryan and Susan Sarandon on reality tours they conducted in Cambodia promoting the Somaly Mam Foundation. I stated she had appeared with Hillary Clinton and on Oprah as the “Face of Slavery” and that her testimonial had been profiled on Half the Sky.

This picture of Hillary Clinton hugging Long Pross was being displayed on the overhead when I went on to add that this story had been covered by many popular media sources including Oprah and PBS who had recently screened her ‘testimonial’ on Half the Sky.

This picture of Hillary Clinton hugging Long Pross was being displayed on the overhead when my session was cut short.


 At this point the moderator Tim Large politely interjected and apologetically informed me that we were running short of time and that we would now have to turn to Q&A and develop our inputs for the Conference Call to Action. I may have broken some unwritten protocol by mentioning Half the Sky from the panel, especially as Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl Wudunn are on the advisory board for Trust Women,and also because he had spoken on the video that introduced our session.   The overarching point I was trying to make was that it is crucial for journalists to confirm every piece of information they receive before sending it to print.   I wanted to point out how easily such fabricated narratives can proliferate into the mainstream consciousness if reporters do not exercise caution.

The point at which truth-in-reporting intersects with the profit motive was illustrated quite plainly with the swift end to my presentation.  I was trying to convey the importance of the human rights aspect and emphasise that responses to trafficking must be based in truth.  There were a couple of exceptional moments during the conference when empassioned women spoke about their experiences, but I did not feel I had witnessed a lot of truth-telling in these two days. I did not appreciate the way many of the issues were framed, such as the Arab Spring with more than a hint of anti-Islamism or the focus on the atrocious behaviour of people from the Global South – Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage, When culture clashes with Law.  And of course, Women for Sale. There was little mention of the role Colonisation or Western Imperialism play in the global profile.

During the reading of the Conference Declaration, I was following the official twitter feed on the big screen and saw quite a few positive tweets about my presentation including a two from the Trust Women rapporteur. They disappeared within an hour. Thankfully we have activists in the movement who are vigilant and one diligent observer from $carlet Timor managed to save a few .

 Afterwards, a high-ranking journalist approached me and expressed shock at my allegations of impropriety in relation to Half the Sky. I told her there were journalists in Cambodia working to expose the violence of the anti-trafficking industry because it has become a significant problem. She asked me if I knew that Mr Kristof was a Pulitzer prize winning journalist to which I nodded and she added that the Trust Women conference had been inspired by the stories contained in Half the Sky.  She asked me had I read it.  I said ‘no’. She promised to send me a copy. I told her I would forward the requisite articles that formed the basis of my allegations about the fabricated victim-narrative.

trust-women

When Ruchira Gupta says that the traffickers are becoming wise and “outsmarting us”, I take that as acknowledgement that she recognises there is something authentic about the sex worker movement- a truth.  I think she recognises that we are building something special, having discovered our power as autonomous individuals and as part of the vibrant tapestry of resistance that forms our global solidarity movement. Responses to trafficking must be based in truth, not conflations or exaggerations or imaginings or outright lies. The UN is beginning to recognise the magnitude of the dilemma, as are many journalists and hopefully this awareness will expand into a larger context.

 It was strange to sit on a panel with someone for whom your very existence is a threat. In asserting that the sex worker movement is a self-determination movement, I am informing the likes of Gupta and her abolitionist ilk, that perhaps they are not relevant to our context. There is no place for them in our lives or as part of our stories. If sex workers can do it for themselves, those white saviours and their grateful cohorts don’t have an industry to build around us. And that’s probably the best outcome for all- especially those who have been trafficked.

It is sex workers who are subverting the patriarchy, not the gun-ho protectionists who imagine freedom to go only as far as being “equal” to men. Ours is the feminist project. Ours is a huge global movement that is led by women. And as long as sex workers are at the table engaging in the discourse, we will continue to provide inputs that cannot be ignored.

Sex workers are not the problem. We are part of the solution.

Tracey Tully, APNSW Staff.

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   Launch of APNSW+ and NSWP+

    on Tuesday 24th July 2012

    at Sex Worker Freedom Festival

    in Kolkata, India.

 

We are a group of HIV+ Sex Workers and people committed to treatment access for sex workers living with HIV. We have decided that we need a special platform to fight for the rights of HIV+ sex workers and to bring the sex worker’s issues and the energy and glamour of the Sex workers movement to the treatment activist movement!

Our new platforms ‘Asia and Pacific Network of Positive Sex Workers’ (APNSW+) and ‘Global Network of Positive Sex Workers’ (NSWP+) make these demands:

  • HIV+ Sex workers demand the right to look fabulous- to do this we need better and affordable HIV drugs now
  • WE DEMAND AS POSITIVE PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO WORK AS SEX WORKERS!!!
  • We demand the right to work in all sectors, including in the sex industry
  • We demand that the drug companies from the West stop trying to kill us through their attacks on developing countries right to manufacture, export and import generic ARVs
  • As HIV+ sex workers we face MULTIPLE stigma and discrimination despite 25 years of treatment activism there is an extra layer of stigma if we have HIV and do sex work. As positive sex workers, we demand that this stigma is fought and our specific needs are met
  • We demand not to be last in line for treatment or refused treatment because we are sex workers
  • Treatment needs to be matched to the patient not the patient matched to the treatment
  • Post Exposure Prophylaxis is not available to most people around the world – we need access and availability of PEP, especially for sex workers

AS HIV+ SEX WORKERS, WE DEMAND THE RIGHT TO LOOK FABULOUS!!!


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The most exciting thing about the Sex Worker Freedom Festival is that happened at all. How thrilling it was to have sex workers from over 41 countries, and all over India to come to the parallel IAC conference we held in Kolkata to discuss issues that are important to sex workers everywhere. The week-long conference was organised by NSWP, APNSW & DMSC and was attended by over 550 sex workers.

The festival focussed on the seven freedoms that we are all entitled to:

  • Freedom of movement and to migrate;
  • Freedom to access quality health services;
  • Freedom to work and choose occupation;
  • Freedom to associate and unionise;
  • Freedom to be protected by the law;
  • Freedom from abuse and violence; and
  • Freedom from stigma and discrimination.

We held workshops and heard news and views and analysis from sex workers in attendance from all around the world. APNSW held Information and Communications Technology (ICT) workshops that explored the various platforms of online communication, with a particular focus on social networking. In partnership with the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), APNSW held workshops for HIV+ sex workers, who got to explore the realms of a potential HIV+ revolution! We held our red umbrella march to coincide with the march in Washington, the ‘Sex Workers can end AIDS Rally’, and it was enthusiastically attended by locals and visitors alike. There was a red carpet night with performances, booze, awards in recognition for significant achievements in sex worker activism. The SWFF saw the launch of APNSW+ & NSWP+, an advocacy platform that aims to make the voices of HIV+ sex workers heard loud and clear!

We feel privileged to have been welcomed so warmly by our local partners, the sex workers of DMSC and treated like family by all of our Indian partners, especially the crews at VAMP and Ashodaya.

NSWP have just issued the inaugural issue of Sex Worker Digest which provides a detailed summary of the topics covered in the official programme and maps out the media coverage that the festival attracted.

 It is ironical that the AIDS conference’s slogan is “Turning the Tide Together” when two of the key populations most affected by HIV, sex workers and those with a history of drug use, are denied entry to the US and cannot therefore be present – we are an essential part of the solution.”

Ruth Morgan Thomas, Global Co-ordinator NSWP.

Obama, when he became the president, he said “I am the president of everyone” — that should include gay people and sex workers. He said ‘Yes We Can’ for change! But there’s no change yet, so he has failed the whole world of discriminating against sex workers and not removing that prostitution pledge.”

John Mathenge, Co-ordinator, Kenyan Sex Worker’s Alliance (KESWA), Kenya.

HIV is our garbo (pride). If it had not come we would not be here. We would have just been lying in the dark getting beaten up. Today we are organised.”

Swapna Gayen  Program Director, DMSC, India.

SW digest Issue 01 Oct 2012

 

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Hello everybody,

I am Kthi Win from Myanmar and I am a sex worker. I manage a national organisation for female, male & transgender sex workers in Burma & I am also the chairperson of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers.  Until now, organising anything in Myanmar has been very difficult.  And people ask, “how did you set up a national programme for sex workers?”  And my answer to them is “Our work is illegal.  Every night we manage to earn money without getting arrested by the police.  We used to work and organise together, so we use this knowledge in order to work out how we can set up the National Network without making the government angry”.

This topic is about transforming economic power.  I want to say to you, that when a woman makes the decision to sell sex, she has already made the decision to empower herself economically.  What we do in organising sex workers, is we build on the power that the sex worker has already taken for herself – the decision to not be poor.

Like other workers, we gain more economic power by organising collectively and demanding our rights.

The key demand of the sex worker’s movement in Burma, in Asia and all around the world is simple.  We demand that sex work is recognised as work.

But we have one OTHER key demand, specific to certain parts of the women’s movement.

We demand that we are not treated as victims.  Sex work is work! Sex work by definition, is NOT trafficking. Treat us as workers and not as passive victims.

For me and for sex workers movement in Myanmar, the thing that changed us the most and inspired us was to meet other sex worker activists and to become part of the broader sex workers rights movement through APNSW.

We organised for members of APNSW to come to do a workshop in Myanmar and we met other sex worker activists and learned about how they organised and how they can do things for themselves.

Until then we thought that we would be led by and learn from non sex worker experts in other NGOs. But what we learned and what made the change was that we realised, that instead of having to do what other people told us, we could do it ourselves and become more powerful by being part of a regional and global movement for sex workers rights.

Many people always assume that sex workers have less power than our customers. They assume that because customers are men they have all the power. But who pays whom?

Who makes the money?

It is sex workers who make money. And by understanding men and what it is they want from us, we usually end up walking away from them with more money than they agreed to give us at the beginning.

Also people do not realise that many customers become our good friends and they keep supporting us.

It is this same skill we use when dealing with government or dealing with donors.

We have learned to work out what it is that the donors want from us, or what it is the national government or district officials expect from us.

We then frame what we need in ways that will help them to do what it is that they need to do.

SO in building our movement we build the confidence of sex workers to use the skills they have already learned.

We get a lot of quiet support from most of the women’s movement.

But we face daily attacks from a small fringe group who have hijacked the whole debate on sex work by defining all sex work as trafficking and claiming to speak for all of YOU – claiming that “real feminists” all oppose prostitution and that “real feminists’ all know that sex work is not work.

They say that women like me are all victims.

They tell you that there is some pimp or madam who has told me what to say.

They tell you that some man who works for an “international sex trafficking and pornography syndicate” will beat me or violently rape me if I do not do what I am told.

So, let’s talk about attacks and violence against sex workers.

And when I say attacks on sex workers, I don’t just mean verbal attacks or debate within a movement.

I mean real violence on a daily basis against women like me.

Do you know that sex workers do not live in fear of violent clients?

We live in daily fear of being “rescued”.

The violence happens when feminist rescue organisations work with the police who break into our work places and beat us, rape us and kidnap our children in order to save us.

As a movement, feminism is meant to believe in agency. Even oppressed women in sex work can make choices.  But we cannot chose not to be saved when a policeman or police women has a gun pointed at our head.

What we need is for the mainstream women’s movement to not just silently support our struggle but to speak up and speak out against the extremists who have turned the important movement against real trafficking into a violent war against sex workers.

I ask that you all to stand with sex workers.

We ask you to TALK with sex workers.

Nothing about us without us.

It’s time for the silent majority of feminists to stand with us and say:

Sex work is work!!!

http://www.nswp.org/news-story/kaythi-win-brings-the-house-down-the-awid-forum

http://youtu.be/7NgczFo3Ghc

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It’s 4 years ago this week that Carol Jenkins, one of the strongest supporters of sex workers rights and HIV programs in this region died. Carol was a close friend to many in the APNSW extended family. Her research skills are sorely missed, but more than this we miss the way her house in Bangkok was a place that brought so many different people together- from members of community organizations up to the heads of major international aid agencies. Now we only get to see most of those people in formal meetings, which is a shame. The debates and discussions over Carol’s dinner table led to some amazing collaborations and many honest discussions. The loss of this informal space, which we called “Salon Jenkins” where we met people as equals has, we believe been a huge loss to the HIV response in this region. We miss you Mildred!

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Last month APNSW members decided to paint a mural to represent the problems sex workers have with GFATM programmes but also to give ideas for how they can be fixed so that GFATM money is used responsibly and ethically on programmes addressing sex work and HIV.

Left side of the banner is the way programmes run now.
The sex worker (organisation) is a puppet. It shows her collecting all the paper work for GF programmes as her main activity. she is also treated as a target and carries an STI Test book, which records the results of the compulsory STI and HIV tests funded by the Global Fund.

Further to the left, is the Evil Elf, which represents the INGOs and UN organizations who are involved in all of this programming but just end up stealing sex workers power and (mis)appropriating the money for sex worker HIV Programmes

Behind the Elf is a road delivering GF money, but bags of it are falling off to all the wrong places.
There is an intersection with a sign post, but the remaining money goes to token pecs and compulsory testing and no money gets to the projects run by sex workers.

On right hand side is how things can be if sex workers are allowed to run our own programmes rather than being passive recipients and targets.

If GF will,allow us to,cut the puppet strings then the puppet turns into a multi armed angel,winged goddess who can deliver Value For Money- something we as sex workers know about and deliver to our clients daily!

So if,community is empowered and directly funded we can deliver for the people.
Small amounts of money used to nurture the grass roots lead,to huge outcomes growing.
If we work on principles based on the right to health then we can work,together instead of having to fight with all,the agencies and organizations who should be working with us.


In about 10 different languages a few key messages are written by sex workers from those countries.

Sex work is work
My body is mine, not the governments
My body is my business
No compulsory testing
Sex workers have human rights.

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