Please email us at email@example.com to join us as endorsers and sponsors.
Have a Happy March 3rd
In honor of International Day for Sex Workers’ Rights, SWIRL is posting two audio items related to the current situation in NYC on the SWIRL Blog:
Visit the blog and click on the links to listen to an interview with Veronica Wolfe (SWOP/SWANK) about the current situation for pro-dommes in NYC (recorded Nov 2008) and a public service announcement recorded for SWIRL in 2007 by Vivian Kramer of the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom. NCSF is currently defending some pro-domme-related victims of the current situation in the NYC courts.
Sex Workers Outreach Project NYC &
Sex Workers Action New yorK
Just a friendly reminder to attend the International Day for Sex Workers’ Rights Community Potluck. Free to enter, meal by donation – no one turned away! We’ll have food ’til we run out so please bring a dish if you can.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 3rd. 7pm – 9pm
WHERE: The Garden Room at the Judson Memorial Church
239 Thompson St. (just south of Washington Square Park)
New York, NY
Join us (people in the sex trade and our allies) for a delicious meal!
Learn about campaigns and programs in our communities! Win sexy prizes in our raffle! Network, share stories, and celebrate the struggle for our rights!
(347) 748-9163 or firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer, to bring a dish or for more info!
SWOP NORCAL Organizes Lobby Day in Sacramento, March 3, 2009
Please call SWOP 877-776-2004 for more info AND email email@example.com and to join us!
Sex Workers Outreach Project Northern California is part of a national network of sex workers and advocates for sex workers rights. Our members includes community organizers, medical professionals, social service workers, academic researchers, advocates and friends & family members of sex workers.
Today we celebrate March 3, International Day for Sex Worker Rights with a lobbying day in Sacramento. Issues include criminalization of out communities, targeting of transgendered workers, migrants and sex workers of color, lack of police protection and recourse in cases of abuse, and targeting sex workers in lieu of addressing the real issues of trafficking.
The March 3 we are bringing forth a specific and urgent issue for which we seek you support. Among the numerous hardships which effect our communities, it is surprising that our insistence on condoms for protection is actually used as evidence in prostitution cases by police and District Attorneys in this state. Although sex workers use condoms, it is clear that condom use is inhibited when the mention or use of condoms can be employed against them. This practice is rampant. In fact, two SWOP members are challenging cases which use this type of evidence. The legislation we bring to Sacramento will halt this practice.
As the late Senator Milton Marks wrote in a 1994 letter condemning this practice, “The result of this has been a fear among prostitutes to use condoms. This is alarming to me and should be alarming to all public health officials, as it runs directly counter to the work we have done in the AIDS pandemic.”
Sex Workers Outreach Project, Northern Califorina
SWOP-NORCAL: Sex Workers Rights Issues Into the 21st Century
SWOP-USA is organized to support the rights and address conditions for some of the most marginalized members of our society: women, transgender people and others who work in the sex industries. Many in our communities are greatly affected by poverty, prejudices and incarceration. We are further disenfranchised through racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and economic oppression. The issues below are of great concern to our members and our communities.
Sex Workers are Part the Community
Whether you see us or not are everywhere. We are sons, daughters, siblings, cousins, spouses and parents. We play an important role in our society and make valuable contributions to our communities and to our families. Our health and safety is a valuable asset to our country. It is in the best interest of all that sex workers enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as other workers and business people.
Sex Workers Fight Against HIV
The Report of the Commission on AIDS in Asia noted that sex workers are part of the solution to preventing the spread of HIV. This year, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon called for an end to discrimination against sex workers noting that prevention is only available to sex workers in countries with laws that protect them. Counterproductive policies must stop, such as condom use are evidence in prostitution cases or the US “Anti-Prostitution Pledge” as a condition for receiving USAID funding. There is much to be gained by working with sex worker and public health organizations to define best practices.
Sex Workers Are Part the Solution
Sex workers and their allies around the world have been in the forefront of the struggle against human trafficking, working together to address force, coercion and other abuses in the sex industry. Sex work done consensually by adults is distinctly different from human trafficking. The conflation of these concepts inhibits our role in contributing solutions to human trafficking and other abuses in our industry. There is a great deal of expertise from our communities defining safe work environments, identifying abusive situations and establishing a culturally appropriate community-based response to these problems.
Prop K, the San Francisco decriminalization ballot initiative secured 41% of the vote. There is a great deal of support in California for sex worker rights and decriminalization
No more stings! Stop the corruption! Stop the entrapment of prostitutes and their customers!
No more raids! Stop the deportations!
Violence Against Sex Workers Is Not Acceptable
Violence against us is not only tolerated, but even expected by society. Gary Leon Ridgway, the Green River Killer, murdered more than 60 women over a 21-year period with impunity. When he was finally apprehended he was quoted as saying: “I thought I could get away with killing hookers because nobody cares about them… I was doing the cops a favor by cleaning the trash up off the street.” It is clear that labeling sex workers as criminals puts us at odds with law enforcement who should be protecting us and it sends a message to society that sex workers are expendable. Sex workers should not be criminals and violence against us should be classified as hate crime.
For Immediate Release – March 3, 2009
SEX WORKERS CALL FOR LOCAL CHANGE ON GLOBAL RIGHTS DAY
(Halifax) Stepping Stone, an organization that provides outreach and supportive programs to sex workers in the Halifax Region is urging law enforcement and the courts to review the current arrest and release procedures that impede sex workers’ health and safety within HRM. The Canadian Criminal Code gives police the power to release anyone arrested for solicitation on conditions that prevent them from accessing entire sections of the Halifax region. Sex workers and their allies refer to to these conditions as being placed on boundaries.
Rene Ross with Stepping Stone says “These conditional releases prevent sex workers from accessing essential services such as transition services, health care and housing.” Not only does this keep sex workers from accessing some services, “it further isolates sex workers and forces them to work in unsafe areas and under riskier circumstances.” Ross argues, “Striking down the practice of issuing boundaries is an essential step to reducing violence against one of the most marginalized populations in our community; these are mothers, sisters and daughters who do not have access to the same charter rights and freedoms as do other Canadians.”
Stepping Stone runs a court and legal support program for sex workers and statistics for 2008 show that of the 28 sex workers who were arrested on solicitation charges, there were 75 instances where release conditions and court orders were breached, due to the unrealistic nature of ordering a person not to be in a certain part of the HRM. Breaching a court order can result in incarceration and a criminal record, both of which impede a sex worker’s ability to transition out of sex work and, ultimately, costs the taxpayer through incarcerations and court costs. In 2004 national statistics show there were 6493 prostitution related charges, to incarcerate one person in a provincial jail for one year costs $50,005. In 2004 it cost Canadian Taxpayers $324 682 465 just to incarcerate Sex Workers.
Stepping Stone agrees with the use of release conditions for individuals charged with serious crimes, but not for prostitution. “We question whether or not the police have the authority under the Criminal Code to ban individuals from the communities they live in, and we will continue to work with legal researchers to determine our options moving forward,” says Ross, and further, “this practice is a violation of basic human rights according to the Canadian Charter of Human Rights as well other international rights codes.”
This release comes on International Sex Workers Rights Day, which was created on March 3 2001 in India to demonstrate the resilience of sex workers and to show their determination to improve their basic human rights.
Stepping Stone is the only organization of its kind east of Montreal and is committed to the health and safety of former and current sex workers in the Halifax area. It offers a range of supportive programs including street outreach, crisis counselling, peer support, harm reduction workshops, court support and the in house visits of health practitioners. They work with approximately 112 former and current sex workers on average per month.
Rene Ross Michael Goodyear
Executive Director, Stepping Stone Board Member, Stepping Stone
(902) 420-0103 or (902) 456-8945 (902) 473-6015
Facebook group. http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=89277280354
History of March 3rd, International Sex Worker Rights Day
The 3rd of March is International Sex Worker Rights Day. The day originated in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival. The organizers, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a Calcutta based group whose membership consists of somewhere upwards of 50,000 sex workers and members of their communities. Sex worker groups across the world have subsequently celebrated 3 March as International Sex Workers’ Rights Day.
Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (2002): “We felt strongly that that we should have a day what need to be observed by the sex workers community globally. Keeping in view the large mobilization of all types of global sexworkers [Female,Male,Transgender], we proposed to observe 3rd March as THE SEX WORKERS RIGHTS DAY.
Knowing the usual response of international bodies and views of academicians and intellectuals of the 1st world [many of them consider that sex workers of third world are different from 1st world and can't take their decision] a call coming from a third world country would be more appropriate at this juncture, we believe. It will be a great pleasure to us if all of you observe the day in your own countries too…We need your inspiration and support to turn our dreams into reality.
The founding members of DMSC had come together through their active involvement as peer educators in a STD/HIV prevention intervention program, widely known as the Sonagachi Project, which has been running since 1992. Since then we have been successfully networking among sex workers in India and some other countries, particularly in South and South-East Asia, to foreground the demands for promotion and protection of our rights. Our political objectives are decriminalization of adult prostitution, securing social recognition of sex work as a valid profession and establishing sex workers right to self-determination. We brought together 80000 or more delegates for this seminal meet, the first of its kind in this part of the world. Although our resources are limited, our dreams are unbounded and our enthusiasm is high and commitment unwavering. With your support, we are determined to make this event a grand success. We believe ONLY RIGHTS CAN STOP THE WRONGS.