Asia

Press Release: Sex workers, governments and UN join hands to boost AIDS response in Asia-Pacific region

PATTAYA, Thailand, 15 October 2010 - At the first-ever Asia-Pacific consultation on HIV and sex work, sex workers, government officials and United Nations participants emphasized the need for urgent action to increase focus and positioning of sex work within HIV responses in the region.

Close to 150 delegates from eight countries (China, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand) met in Pattaya, Thailand, to form partnerships and review policies and laws that keep sex workers from accessing HIV services and sexual and reproductive health services.

“Sex work interventions must be central to scaling up the HIV response, and listening to sex workers is crucial,” said Jan Beagle, Deputy-Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) who spoke at the consultation. “Sex workers experience firsthand the effects of laws and harmful enforcement practices that violate their human rights and hamper progress on HIV,” he said.

Advancing sexual health and human rights in the Western Pacific

Widespread criminalization of sex work has had the effect of undermining the sexual health of sex workers, for instance by preventing them from accessing health care services for fear of criminal prosecution if found to be a sex worker. Moreover, laws permitting mandatory HIV or STI testing of sex workers and mandating disclosure of private health information to employers sanction direct interference in the private lives of sex workers.

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Eliminating Violence Against Sex Workers

In their work and lives, sex workers experience disproportionate levels of violence including police abuse, sexual assault, rape, harassment, extortion, and abuse from clients, agents (pimps), sex establishment owners, intimate partners, local residents, and public authorities. Violence against sex workers is a violation of their human rights, and increases sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV. Violence against sex workers must be understood beyond the individual incidents and in a wider context of gender and stigma. 

(extract from paper)

The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers

The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers provides this window on the internet for all the issues affecting male, female and transgender sex workers in the region that is home to half of the population of the world.

Migration & Mobility in the Context of HIV and Sex Work

This is a discussion paper prepared for the 1st Asia and the Pacific Regional Consultation on HIV and Sex Work, 12 – 15 October 2010 in Pattaya, Thailand. Among its recommendations are: 

Arrest the Violence: Human Rights Violations Against Sex Workers in 11 Countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

A report by Crago A-L published by Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The research presented in this report was conducted from September to December 2007 by sex workers and outreach workers from 12 NGOs in 11 countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine). The data in this report reflects the responses from interviews conducted with 218 adult male, female and transgender sex workers in these 11 countries.

HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention Among Sex Workers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

This study, by UNAIDS, describes the experiences of, and challenges faced by, five nongovernmental organizations in eastern Europe and central Asia, which developed effective practices and implemented promising HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention programmes for sex workers and their clients. The programmes' key objectives were to decrease sex workers' vulnerability by improving their overall well being and supporting their empowerment. It is hoped their experiences will be helpful in initiating and moving forward similar projects in low-resource settings.

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