Cambodia: Sex Workers Face Unlawful Arrests and Detention

Officials Should Investigate and Close Government Centers Where Abuses Occur
July 20, 2010

(Phnom Penh) – The Cambodian government should act quickly to end violence against sex workers and permanently close the government centers where these workers have been unlawfully detained and abused, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch also urged the Cambodian government to suspend provisions in the 2008 Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation that facilitate police harassment and abuses.

Human Rights Watch’s 76-page report, “Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia,” is based on more than 90 interviews and group discussions with female and transgender sex workers in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Siem Reap. It describes how sex workers face a wide range of abuses, Continue reading

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Australia: Family group apologises to sex workers

Sex workers want a ban on material which stigmates their industry.

A group opposed to prostitution has been forced to apologise to Tasmanian sex workers for saying the industry is harmful to women.

The Family Protection Society also accused sex workers of “breaking up marriages” in a series of advertisements placed in a Tasmanian daily newspaper.

Jade Barker from the lobby group Scarlet Alliance says the society agreed to apologise after the alliance lodged a complaint.

“Scarlet Alliance commenced action under the Tasmanian Anti-discrimination Act of 1998 in relation to the Family Protection Society and a conciliation was held and an apology given which was published by the Family Protection Society,” she said.

Tasmanian sex worker “Claire” says the society has a long history of publishing material stigmatising sex workers.

“[It says] things like prostitution harms women, prositution disturbs marriages.”

She says the apology is welcome but it is only the first step.

“Ads like these should be banned from the paper.”

The Alliance is continuing to push for the decriminalisation of prostitution in Tasmania.

Attempts to contact the Family Protection Society have been unsuccessful.

See original at ABC Australia

Pattaya Police clear Pattaya Beach of suspected Prostitutes

25th February 2010

Following orders from the new Pattaya Police Chief, Police Colonel Nantawoot, a team of Pattaya Police Officers assisted by civil volunteers, known in Thai as “O-Po-Po-Lor”, conducted a late night operation on Wednesday to clear Pattaya Beach of Prostitutes and others suspected of loitering with intent to engage in anti-social or criminal activity. A total of 60 people were rounded-up, including 20 transsexuals and 40 women. All were charged with offences relating to loitering with intent and prostitution and paid a small fine before being released back onto the Beach where they presumably continued with whatever they were doing prior to their arrest.

See original at Pattaya One news

Her crime? Sex work in New Orleans

By: Jordan Flaherty, Contributing Writer
Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 10:43 am
(Special to The Louisiana Weekly from ColorLines Magazine)

Tabitha has been working as a prostitute in New Orleans since she was 13. Now 30 years old, she can often be found working on a corner just outside of the French Quarter. A small and slight white woman, she has battled both drug addiction and illness and struggles every day to find a meal or a place to stay for the night.

These days, Tabitha, who asked that her real name not be used in this story, has yet another burden: a stamp printed on her driver’s license labels her a sex offender. Her crime? Sex work.

New Orleans city police and the district attorney’s office are using a state law written for child molesters to charge hundreds of sex workers like Tabitha as sex offenders. The law, which dates back to 1805, makes it a crime against nature to engage in “unnatural copulation”-a term New Orleans cops and the district attorney’s office have interpreted to mean anal or oral sex. Sex workers convicted of breaking this law are charged with felonies, issued longer jail sentences and forced to register as sex offenders. They must also carry a driver’s license with the label “sex offender” printed on it. Continue reading

India: Neither Victims Nor Voiceless: Sex Workers Speaking for Themselves

By Audacia Ray, RH Reality Check.
Posted January 12, 2010.

Painting a portrait of people in the sex industry as victims without voices only perpetuates their disempowerment.

Since becoming a part of the U.S. sex worker rights movement five years ago, talking about contentious issues concerning bodies, labor, money, and rights has very much become my calling. In the past year alone, I’ve been quoted on CNN about the value of virginity, talked about South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford on WNYC’s The Takeaway, and admonished the Boston Herald for its slurs toward sex workers. Suffice to say, I give my opinion freely and often loudly.

I thought I knew a lot about sex work, rights, and organizing when, in September, I set off for two weeks in India with my colleague Khushbu Srivastava, Program Officer for Asia at the International Women’s Health Coalition. But as much as I am accustomed to being an “expert,” I quickly realized that I knew next to nothing about the nuances of Indian culture and the dynamics of the local struggle for sexual rights and reproductive health. While there are many things that I learned Continue reading

Prostitution Now Outlawed In R.I., But Is That Good?

by Ian Donnis
November 15, 2009 from WRNI

Until earlier this month, Rhode Island was the only place in the country where prostitution was legal across an entire state — because of an unintended loophole in the law. But the move to close that loophole is fueling concerns that victims of the sex trade are being put at even more risk.

Back in 1980, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a law meant to speed the prosecution of streetwalkers. But in the process, legislators unwittingly decriminalized prostitution that took place indoors. This loophole didn’t attract much notice for years.

Then, in 2003, a court case made it clear that prostitutes were free from prosecution if their sex trade occurred behind closed doors. The result has been a growing number of so-called Asian spas that critics say are thinly veiled brothels. Continue reading

Prostitution in Georgian London: Harlot’s progress

Oct 15th 2009
From The Economist print edition

The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital. By Dan Cruickshank. Random House: 688 pages; £25. Buy from Amazon.co.uk

"Connoisseurs" by Thomas Rowlandson

"Connoisseurs" by Thomas Rowlandson

AS MANY as one in five young women were prostitutes in 18th-century London. The Covent Garden that tourists frequent today was the centre of a vast sex trade strewn across hundreds of brothels and so-called coffee houses. Fornication in public was common and even children were routinely treated for venereal disease. A German visitor observed a nation that had overstepped all others “in immorality and addiction to debauchery”.

English society expected, even encouraged, men to pay for sex. Prejudice barred women from all but menial jobs. Prostitution at least offered financial independence: a typical harlot could earn in a month what a tradesman or clerk would earn in a year. For a few beautiful and savvy women, the gamble paid off. Lavinia Fenton, a child prostitute, married a duke. But most prostitutes were destined for disease, despair and early death. Continue reading

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