Sex workers, governments and UN join hands to boost AIDS response in Asia-Pacific region

PATTAYA, Thailand, 15 October 2010 – At the first-ever Asia-Pacific consultation on HIV and sex work, sex workers, government officials and United Nations participants emphasized the need for urgent action to increase focus and positioning of sex work within HIV responses in the region.

Close to 150 delegates from eight countries (China, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Thailand) met in Pattaya, Thailand, to form partnerships and review policies and laws that keep sex workers from accessing HIV services and sexual and reproductive health services.

“Sex work interventions must be central to scaling up the HIV response, and listening to sex workers is crucial,” said Jan Beagle, Deputy Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) who spoke at the consultation. “Sex workers experience firsthand the effects of laws and harmful enforcement practices that violate their human rights and hamper progress on HIV,” he said. Continue reading

RIGHTS-SOUTH KOREA: Prostitution Thrives with U.S. Military Presence

By Zoltán Dujisin

SEOUL, Jul 7 (IPS) – With the presence of U.S. soldiers, flesh trade is flourishing near the Camp Stanley Camptown close to Seoul.

Since 1945, U.S. troops have been stationed in the Korean peninsula, with their current strength estimated to be 28,500. The country plunged into civil war between 1950 and 1953 and since then, U.S. troops have remained there, claiming to act as a deterrent against North Korea, the country’s communist neighbour. Prostitution in the region is a direct result of their presence, local observers say.

Russian and Chinese troops also had troops stationed on the Korean peninsula in the aftermath of the civil conflict, but “have since left the area while U.S. troops are still here, in almost 100 military bases,” Yu Young Nim, the head of a local non-governmental organisation which provides counseling, medical and legal care for sex workers, told IPS. Continue reading

Pressured by sex workers, Taiwan OKs prostitution

Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:23am EDT

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan began a process of legalizing prostitution Wednesday making the island the latest place in the world to decriminalize the world’s oldest profession.

In six months, authorities will stop punishing Taiwan sex workers after prostitutes successfully campaigned to be given the same protection as their clients, a government spokesman said. Continue reading

Taiwan legalizes world’s oldest profession

Score one for sex workers: Activists in Taiwan emerged victorious Wednesday after waging a long battle to legalize prostitution in their country. Six months from now, the nation’s 600,000 working girls (and guys) will be free to ply their trade without fear of incarceration. “Now the client gets off free, but the prostitute gets punished, and that’s not fair,” sex worker spokesman Su Jun-pin told Reuters. Under the new regulations, it will be up to local governments to decide whether to relegate prostitution to specific districts or decriminalize it throughout the entire region.

What is especially remarkable about this decision is that it results from old-fashioned grass-roots organizing from groups such as Taipei’s Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters. This means a massive victory not only for prostitutes in Taiwan but also for activists around the world working for decriminalization. “This is telling about the global movement,” says Tara Sawyer, a Sex Workers Outreach Project board member. She compares the fight for decriminalization to the civil rights movement, saying that the Taiwan decision underscores the urgent need for the U.S. government “to listen to the people doing the work. We’re not doing that yet.”

Of course, it makes sense that groups working for decriminalization in this country have had less success than their Asian counterparts: In Taiwan, prostitution has only been prohibited for the past 11 years.
― Judy Berman

Original story on Salon

Taiwan floats plan for legalized prostitution zone

Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:10am BST

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s interior ministry has proposed setting up a legal prostitution zone allowing the island’s already huge underground trade to flourish, in response to popular demand from sex workers, officials said on Friday.

Pimps, prostitutes and their clients who do business in the zone will not face any punishment, said ministry department head Huang Bi-hsia. Continue reading

Two Taiwan soldiers arrested for killing Vietnamese prostitute

Asia-Pacific News
Apr 11, 2009, 2:32 GMT

– Monsters and Critics –

Taipei – Two Taiwan naval personnel have been arrested for armed robbery which left one Vietnamese prostitute dead and another injured, Taiwan press said Saturday.

Tseng Shao-tzu and Liang Poh-yu, both 20, committed the armed burglary and murder Friday in Kaohsiung City, south Taiwan, near the Tsoying Naval Base.

They face a court martial and the death penalty, if found guilty, several newspapers reported.

According to the China Times, Tseng and Liang became acquainted with Le Kim-phuong, 34, a Vietnamese woman running an underground brothel in her apartment near the base. Continue reading

China: Child rape, prostitution trial begins

By Xie Yu (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-04-09 07:39

Six men and one woman are standing trial after a child prostitution ring was smashed in Southwest China’s Xishui county, Guizhou province, Wednesday. Some of the victims were as young as 13.

Yuan Ronghui, a 37-year-old jobless woman, was charged with organizing prostitution.

Another six men, including four government officials, a teacher, a taxi driver, were charged with child rape after police uncovered the prostitution ring, involving 11 girls aged between 13 and 18 in October last year.

The courtroom was closed to protect the privacy of the girls, said Yu Deping, president of the people’s court of Xishui county, Guizhou province. No verdict was reached yesterday. Continue reading