NSWP Supports Sex Workers in Uganda and Their Right to Organise

Nov 22nd, 2010 | By Communications | Category: Policy and Activism

Last week, the Sex Workers Leadership Institute organized by Akina Mama Wa Afrika and set to take place in Kampala, Uganda from 18 to 20th November was shut down by Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo. In a letter to the hotel hosting the conference, Buturo states that “prostitution is a criminal offence in Uganda” and as a result “the hotel is an accomplice in an illegality.”

Sex workers throughout Africa are vulnerable to violence from the police who criminalise and harass us, health institutions that refuse to treat us, and civil society members who deny us our humanity. By preventing sex workers from organising, the Ugandan government is complicit is perpetuating these grave injustices. Criminalising income generating activities that people engage in to survive, such as sex work, is not an effective way to reduce crime or protect safety.

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) stands in solidarity with sex workers in Africa who are reaching out to one another and building a grassroots network that stands up for sex workers’ rights. Uganda’s continued criminalisation and stigmatisation of sex workers is a violation of human rights, and we strongly oppose the harm it does to our communities.

You can download this statement as an one-page PDF (English only) here.

See original at IAC-NSWP

Uganda: Government should reverse decision to ban workshop (Amnesty International)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PUBLIC STATEMENT
AI Index: AFR 59/014/2010
19 November 2010

Uganda: Government should reverse decision to ban workshop intended to discuss human rights issues affecting sex workers

Amnesty International today condemns the decision by the Ugandan government’s Ethics and
Integrity Minister to ban a three-day civil society workshop that had been intended to discuss
human rights issues of concern to sex workers in Uganda and other East African countries. The
organization calls on the Ugandan government to reverse the Minister’s decision stopping this
workshop. The government must also unequivocally state its commitment to supporting human
rights work. Continue reading

The Nation: Students and Sex Work

“After doing massage therapy for a while, I am now working as an escort full-time. I see two to three clients a day. Seventy-five per cent of my clients are kinkier and twenty-five per cent want vanilla sex or massage with orgasms.”

This is how a Canadian male student, who wishes to remain anonymous, describes how he started to consider sex work earlier this year to raise funds to attend a midwifery school in New Zealand. As a massage therapist working in Vancouver (one of Canada’s most liberal cities) who identifies as “sex positive” and sexually experimental, he found the transition to working as an escort “pretty natural.”

“Students who are considering sex work need to be extremely conscious of their safety.”
-Trina Ricketts, founder of nakedtruth.ca

“The work is what you make it,” he says. “I find it really rewarding to help clients explore their sexuality.” Continue reading

Uganda: Government stops sex workers conference

By Isaac Khisa
Posted Friday, November 19 2010 at 00:00
Kampala

A planned conference by sex workers, which was scheduled to start yesterday in Entebbe, was abruptly halted by the government, saying it was illegal. The conference was organised by Akina Mama Wa Afrika, an international women’s rights NGO with offices in Kampala, was to be held in a hotel in Entebbe.

Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday, Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo said the conference, which government learnt of on Wednesday, had attracted prostitutes from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. “Government reiterates its position that prostitution is a punishable offence. While it is true that we have had problems with enforcing the law, the government is determined to defend innocent Ugandans who very often fall victim to selfish as well as misguided individuals who are promoting prostitution,” Dr Buturo said, adding he ordered the hotel not to allow the meeting to take place. “Promotion of criminal acts under the claim of defense of one’s human rights is not one for this government.”

Denied knowledge
One of the officials of the organisation, who refused to reveal her identity, only said: “If the meeting has been stopped, how can it continue?” She added that she was not aware of the topic and the function of the conference. Most sex workers in Uganda, especially in city, are less than 35 years and join the sex trade due to different problems like poverty, unemployment and illiteracy.

Dr Buturo also revealed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which brought controversy between government and donors, will be revisited upon completion of the Chogm debate which is on-going. Last year, participants discussed ways of protecting sex workers from HIV/Aids amidst calls from the public to ban the meeting.

See original on Daily Monitor

Note to anti-prostitutionists: Sex worker movements are nothing to sneer at

[Article by Laura Agustin in response to a book written by Swedish anti-prostitution propagandist Kajsa Ekis Ekmans]

Ordinarily I avoid ideological debates, but this time I had to chime in, because the author of a nutty Swedish book actually lied about me in it. I don’t mean she distorted my ideas – that is conventional amongst feminists who feel they are engaged in a battle to the death about prostitution. No, this was a lie about me and my life: she described me as an employee of the Network for Sex Work Projects, and the company publishing her book didn’t get anyone to check her facts – even about living people, which is reprehensible. Since I am independent with a highly precarious income, and because my opinions are only my own, I could not allow the lie to go uncontested.

The book’s an attack on two activities: commercial sex and surrogate motherhood. The drivel about me is a very small part of the book, which also provides an egregiously selective and ideologically driven version of the history of sex worker rights movements. I decided to use the publishing opportunity to provide a more honest, if still very brief, version, complete with links to the evidence – probably the first such thing published in Sweden. The original book title can’t be translated exactly but means something like Being and Being a Product – the idea of commodification. Continue reading