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21st April

  Edinburgh report reveals the harm caused by the policing of sex workers...


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Anti-prostitution laws are designed to make the lawmakers feel good about their gender equality, but results in sex workers feeling...er...dead
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Edinburgh...Edinbrugh's licensed massage parlours
Edinbugh Council Sex workers in Edinburgh are facing increased health risks following the controversial police crackdown on saunas, a new report has revealed. Fewer women are attending the specialist NHS clinic set up to support them, and reports show that sexually transmitted infections have increased.

A series of police raids on saunas in 2013, known as Operation Windermere, was seen as signalling the end of Edinburgh's traditional pragmatic approach to prostitution.

Now sex workers are also giving up on condoms, with saunas refusing to stock them because police can use possession of them as evidence of selling sex.

The report for the city council's health and social care committee, which draws together evidence from various agencies involved with sex workers, also said many women had moved away from saunas and now operated from other venues, like flats or lap-dancing bars. The report also said:

There is no evidence that the number of women selling sex in Lothian has reduced, but they are not attending for support from NHS Lothian in the same volumes as in previous years.

Anecdotally, we hear of women now selling sex in other venues, such as lap-dancing bars, and more women are informing us that they are working from flats and advertising on the internet.

Chlamydia had increased by two per cent and cases of hepatitis B and C were also up. The report said:

The problem of unprotected intercourse may have been precipitated by fear of being found by the police to be in possession of condoms, which can be used as evidence to indicate the selling of sex.

NHS Lothian supplies condoms to saunas, but since Operation Windermere, many managers of these premises are reluctant to have condoms stored there.

Compounding this risk is the problem that these venues are quieter, and some reports have indicated that women are consequently competing for work and will practice unprotected intercourse in order to generate a larger income.

These findings come as no surprise to Scot-Pep who have long campaigned against aggressive enforcement action taken by Police Scotland against sex workers. Stewart Cunningham, Co-chair of SCOT-PEP said:

Since the police raided saunas in Edinburgh, the situation for sex workers has worsened dramatically.

Many have disclosed they feel increasingly threatened by law enforcement and the risk of arrest. Welfare agencies continue to work in co-operation with the police, which makes sex workers distrustful of them and reluctant to engage. This is reminiscent of the experiences of Glasgow-based sex workers who have been working in a context that has prioritised zero-tolerance over a harm reduction approach for a number of years.

Traditionally, sex workers in Edinburgh felt better protected by the police than those working in Glasgow but with the enactment of Operation Windermere, where police raided sex worker premises and in some instances strip-searched women, this trust that they could rely on the police for protection has gone.

One woman, who spoke to SCOT-PEP in the aftermath of the police raids, described the way she had been treated by officers: I felt very bad, so violated. I've never been so humiliated in my life.

Police Scotland also routinely use condoms as evidence in prosecuting sex workers, as the council has noted. This flies in the face of all international guidance and must stop.

 

21st April

 Offsite Article: A favourite piece of research for Swedish model advocates throws up a few surprises...

Link Here
feminist ire logo Questionable research used to justify criminalising people who buy sex

See article from feministire.com

 

16th April

  Impoverishing Sex Workers...


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South Korea's Constitutional Court reviews law criminalising protitution
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in South Korea...South Korea criminalises prostitution
South Korea flag The debate on legalizing prostitution has heated up in South Korea as the Constitutional Court began reviewing the law that criminalizes the sex trade.

The antiprostitution law was enacted in 2004. The law stipulates that both purchasing and selling of sex carry a penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 3 million won. It gives exemption to people forced into prostitution, leaving only voluntary sex workers -- many of whom oppose the law -- subject to the punishment.

A woman accused of selling sex for 130,000 won filed for a constitutional review of the law in 2012. The woman argued that punishing voluntary prostitution, especially when the sex worker has no other means of income, was a violation of fundamental human rights. Her request for a review was granted by the Seoul Northern District Court and eventually by the Constitutional Court.

Those who are against the antiprostitution law claim there is little evidence that punishing sex workers is effective in curbing the sex trade. According to government data, the number of female sex workers increased by 3.8% from 2010 to 2013, in spite of the law. According to a study last year by the Gender Equality Ministry, almost 80% of female sex workers were in their 20s and 30s as of 2013.

 

10th April

 Updated: Proud to Protest...


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Amsterdam sex workers protest about their windows being closed down by the council
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in the Netherlands...Netherlands less friendly to sex workers
Amsterdam window shopping PROUD, a sex workers association is organising a large demonstration of sex workers to protest against the continuing closure of window brothels in Amsterdam on Thursday April 9th.

Amsterdam city council will be debating the controversial project 1012 that evening. PROUD, who represents sex workers in the Netherlands, will deliver a list of grievances and demands to the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.

PROUD spokesman Lyle Muns said:

Project 1012 is an urban regeneration project that wholly ignores the presence of sex workers in the city center. Instead of 'saving' sex workers, it is necessary to listen to them. And what they unanimously say is: Hands off our work spaces!

Project 1012 claims to fight abuses in the sex industry by closing windows. But displaced sex workers do not stop working. It was naive of the responsible Social Democratic party in the city council to think that this would ever work. Sex workers didn't stay home but moved to other cities or work from the Internet. PROUD explains how closing windows leads to a worsening of the work conditions of sex workers. Window brothels are one of the safest work places in prostitution. Each window has an alarm in case of danger. The police are always nearby. Health and service organisations frequently monitor the windows. These back up services are simply not available at other sites. By closing windows sex workers are forced to work in more dangerous environments

PROUD demands the immediate termination of Project 1012. It also demands the reversal of the window closures. For its primary target group Project 1012 has been an utter failure. Sex workers are victims of a costly, misconceived project that is ruining Amsterdam's unique historical center. It is high time that stubborn officials begin to respect the rights of sex workers.

The demonstration will leave Thursday April 9 at 18.00 hours from the Oudekerksplein. Sex workers and everyone who supports them are all welcome! At 19.00 hours a statement will be submitted to the mayor at the Stopera. To respect their anonymity some sex workers will wear masks. The media are invited to interview sex workers anonymously.

Update: Proud Protest

10th April 2015. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com by Felicia Anna

proud protest With hundreds of sex workers marching through the streets of Amsterdam today, the sex workers made a clear statement: Stop the closure of prostitution windows!

Since 2008 the city has closed down 117 prostitution windows, and they have another 94 windows scheduled for closure. But in recent years criticism has been rising regarding the project, because the project was being sold as a project to fight forced prostitution , claiming they would reduce human trafficking by closing down windows. In reality however about 300 sex workers have already lost their workplace, and another 250 girls are going to loose their workplace, and nobody knows where those girls end up. I'm sure that helps possible victims a lot!

With a bigger turn up than expected, the 200 masks we provided for the girls for the demonstration weren't enough for all the sex workers that showed up. An estimated 230 sex workers turned up for the demonstration, and another large group of supporters joined us in our march to city hall, to hand over the petition signed by sex workers and supporters to the mayor to stop closing down prostitution windows in Amsterdam.

In total 414 sex workers from the Red Light District and some sex workers from the Singel area in Amsterdam signed the petition. So if ever anyone still claims that I would be just one woman , here's the proof of all the women I represent. A little bit more than the 40 girls from Jojanneke I'd say. And with only 354 windows in those two areas together, the signatures of 414 sex workers prove that a huge majority of the sex workers don't agree with the plans to close down the windows. Furthermore it also proves that behind each window is at least one woman that doesn't agree with it. And an additional 524 supporters signed our online petition, bringing the total amount of people that signed the petition to 938 people that don't agree with closing down the windows.

With a much bigger group than expected, also the media turned out to be much more than we expected. Media from all over the world came to Amsterdam to report about this unique protest in one of the world's most famous prostitution areas.

 

4th April

 Update: Fun in the Lobbies...

Spanish sex workers form a political lobby group in Catalonia
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Spain...Debating the regularisation of prostitution
Spanish flag Sex workers in Catalonia have created Spain's first formal lobby group for the profession, with the aim of encouraging candidates in the upcoming municipal and regional elections to back them in their push to regulate the sector. Montse Neira, one of the founding members of the Assembly of Sex Work Pro-rights Activists of Catalonia explained:

We are the most stigmatised and criminalised group of women in society. From now on, nobody else is going to speak for us.

The lobby group includes sex workers as well as others who work closely with them, such as lawyers and advocates. Another member, Paula Vip said:

The violence we face doesn't come from our clients, but from the institutions that govern based on the interest of a moral minority. From now on, we prostitutes will be organised, convinced, ready to fight and ready for war.

The decision to form a lobby group comes after a pioneering ruling in February by a Spanish judge. In a judgment hailed by many sex workers as a crucial first step towards recognising the rights of those in the profession, the judge said that three women in a Barcelona brothel had a right to healthcare and benefits contributions from their employer.

 

3rd April

 Offsite Article: The faces of prostitution in Australia...

Link Here
twitter 2015 logo What kind of people are sex workers? In Australia, hundreds of them are telling the world about themselves using social media using the #facesofprostitution hashtag

See article from bbc.com

 

1st April

 Update: A Red Umbrella Day...

French Senate votes against the criminalisation of paying for sex
Link Here  full story: P4P in France...Sex workers and the law
senate france France's upper house of parliament has rejected a draft law penalising people paying for sex via prostitution.

In December 2013, the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, approved legislation making clients of prostitutes liable for a fine of 1,500 euros ($1,620) for a first offence and double that thereafter.

But by a large majority, the opposition-dominated Senate reversed the National Assembly's proposal, scrapping the fines for prostitutes' clients and also dropping plans to repeal a law that made soliciting an offence in 2003.

The latest legislation had been fiercely opposed by sex workers, who said it would drive prostitution further underground and make them vulnerable to abuse.

Hundreds of prostitutes took to the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest against the proposed law.

Prostitution is legal in France and there are an estimated 30,000 sex workers in the country, more than 80% of whom come from abroad. But since 2003 offering sex for sale has been against the law.

The National Assembly has the last word on the issue and is likely to revert to the original plan of penalising clients.

 

28th March

 Update: Passive Oppression...

French sex workers order to wear plain clothes
Link Here  full story: P4P in France...Sex workers and the law
street walker fashion Women in skimpy outfits and high heels could be arrested under new French laws that make it illegal to simply look like a prostitute in public.

France is set to bring in a repressive new anti-vice law that makes passive soliciting by appearing to be offering sex for sale illegal. It is expected that prostitutes will be forced to wear casual clothing like jeans and trainers to get around the rules. The law will outlaw the act of publicly soliciting another person for paid sex, by any means, including passive behaviour .

But French sex workers' union Strass see the law as a huge step backwards . Spokesman Chloe Navarro said:

It is making criminals of women for how they dress, and victimising prostitutes for doing their job and aggravating their working conditions.

Lawmakers in France's upper house the Senate will vote on the law next week.

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