Sex workers rights
Our members work with male, female and transgender sex workers, their clients and third parties, while as a network it also targets decision-makers and builds capacity of individual sex workers' rights activitsts to be vocal about issues in their countries and our region. Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face: But liking or disliking a job has nothing at all to do with whether a form of income generation qualifies as a job. Listening to sex workers and challenging the knowledge we think we have is essential if we are to address the conditions in which sex workers are working, including those associated with trafficking. Putting human rights at the centre Sacrificing the rights of people engaging in sex work, even for the dream of a world without sex work, goes against the very principle of human rights.
Is this a romantic notion of sex? Sadly, the vast majority of these writings have only tended to confirm one of the two prevailing — and diametrically opposed — views on the issue. This is just as true for sex workers as it is for labourers in any other sector. But can those same people name a single aspect of life that is not affected by patriarchy and neoliberalism? To ignore this fact is to be blind to the strongest motivation behind sex work. Organising among sex workers should similarly be recognised for its transformative power. In many families, sex workers are the main bread winners. I used to believe that a world where sex is not for sale is a better world. Describe other areas of your work: You may or may not like the work they do. The right of workers to freedom of association and to collective bargaining is one of the four fundamental principles of the International Labour Organisation. SWAN as a regional network unites NGOs and sex worker groups in their effort to fight for human rights for sex workers. Such situation reduces sex workers' access to health services and legal protection for fear of being arrested. Just before the end of a focus group discussion with sex workers in Spain, one of the participants threw a question at me: Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?: It is continually surprising how difficult it is for many people to acknowledge that sex workers make a living from providing sexual services. It should be lauded and replicated, as well as supported by human rights activists. Organised workers are more likely to stand for their rights, improve their working conditions, and create self-managed protection systems. How much is it influenced by my religious and social background? But liking or disliking a job has nothing at all to do with whether a form of income generation qualifies as a job. How are sex workers involved in your organisation?: This choice needs to be recognised and respected, and so has to be their work. We need to break down the stereotypes about sex work, and recognise how organised sex workers are already advocating for security in the workplace, social protection, and participation in the decisions that affect their lives. Should other areas of life, such as marriage or romantic relationships, be eradicated because they are tainted as well? The debate has to be re-started, but this time it needs to be based in listening to what sex workers have to say and putting their human rights at the centre.
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