Newly Appointed UN Special Rapporteur Brings Hope: Human Rights for Sex Workers and Migrants

The information below was posted on the website from the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women. The appointment of Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo Emekekwue of Nigeria is a very positive step . The former UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Sigma Huda, was clearly at odds with a human rights agenda. Quoting below, you see she was “criticized by human rights and anti-trafficking groups for not being based on the core human rights conventions or on a verifiable evidence base, and for being biased and ideologically driven in their approach to trafficking.” Sigma Huda, who worked in conjunction with CATW (Coalition Against Trafficking in Women), is now in prison.

We can hope that this appointment might have a substantial effect on international responses to trafficking.

For more information about Sigma Huda:
http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=1694

Carol Leigh,
http://www.bayswan.org/traffick/

Good News from the Secretariat OF GAATW

from The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) http://www.gaatw.net/

We are writing to share the wonderful news that Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo Emekekwue of Nigeria has been selected as the new Special Rapporteur on Trafficking.

This decision still has to be approved and confirmed by the Human Rights Council on Wednesday 18 June, so it is not official until that date. However, we still wanted to share the news and send our many thanks to you for your rapid support for Joy. Our letter of endorsement was supported by 82 signatories from around the world! Thank you for all your support.

In solidarity,
GAATW International Secretariat
http://www.gaatw.net/

The information below was included in the GAATW recommendation for this candidate.

“The Special Rapporteur has the power to play a valuable role in identifying the human rights violations that make certain people, often women and children, vulnerable to trafficking, as well as the violations that occur during and after the trafficking process. In addition, the Special Rapporteur can also advise states about how to centre the rights of trafficked persons in anti-trafficking strategies. An enormous amount of work remains to be done in this area.”

“To date, however, the Special Procedure on trafficking has been profoundly disappointing and even detrimental to the situation of trafficked persons. For the past one year, the mandate-holder has been in prison on charges of corruption, leaving the mandate effectively inactive. Furthermore, the thematic reports produced in the first two years of her mandate, when she was still in office, were criticized by human rights and anti-trafficking groups for not being based on the core human rights conventions or on a verifiable evidence base, and for being biased and ideologically driven in their approach to trafficking.”

“…we support the candidature of Joy Ngozi Ezeilo Emekekwue. She has a strong human rights academic and advocacy background and a record of grassroots research and advocacy. She has experience in working with governments, as per her appointment as the Honorable Commissioner for Women’s Affairs and Social Development in Enugu State, Nigeria, as well as excellent experience in writing, research and analysis on women’s human rights issues throughout her academic career.”

“Her human rights experience in Nigeria, a significant origin country for women trafficked to Europe, and a destination country for men, women and children trafficked from around West Africa, places her in a unique position of understanding both of the imperatives that drive people into trafficking situations, and the need for better protections in destination countries.”

Sex Workers at San Francisco Pride!

** Please distribute widely!

Sex Workers and Allies will be out and proud with SF Pride this year, come see all the great things we are doing:

Saturday June 28th, 2008:
* Sex Workers Outreach Project USA will be @ the Dyke March, Sat. June 28th, 2008. It’s located @ 18th & Dolores. (16th st mission BART, or 18th & church muni stop) Starting about 3PM, with the march starting @ 7PM. Come help us carry our banner in the march or hang out under our Umbrella.
* We will also have a booth at SF pride (C12 on Grove between larkin & Market) starting @ NOON and ending at 6PM (Civic Center BART). We will be sharing this booth with ESPU-CA, which will be collecting signatures for the upcoming vote to decriminalize prostitution.
Sunday June 29th, 2008:
* Sex Workers, SJI, CSC and others will be riding a trolley Gold Rush Style down Market street starting @ 10:30 AM from Market and Beale (Embarcadero BART) down Market and finishing on 8th St (Civic Center BART). Costumed Ho’s and allies welcome to join the contingent, to get the most updated info email Sadie at sadiewantsawife@gmail.com
* SWOP-Norcal will be serving drinks from booth B5 (Civic Center BART – on Golden Gate st near Polk st — in between federal and state building), noon till 6PM. We still need volunteers, definitely come help!! email: vafeldman@ucdavis.edu
* SWOP-USA will have a booth (C12 on Grove between larkin & Market) with ESPU (again collecting signatures) from NOON till 6PM. Come by our booth and say hi!
We will have amazing Professional Bumper Stickers and t-shirts for donation, and will have pamphlets, flyers, Legal and Know Your Rights information and amazing people(with a few Celebrities!) hanging out and spreading the Sex Worker Rights Message!
For more information email: tara@swopusa.org.

Prostitute’s Protective Society, 1966

Uhm… sex workers fighting violence against sex workers, the Early Years. Prostitute’s Protective Society.  (Sorry, video doesn’t want to embed.)

Sex Workers & HIV/AIDS: Reality Check

Melissa Ditmore’s latest piece at http://www.realitycheck.com: Punishing Sex Workers Won’t Cure HIV/AIDS, Says Ban Ki-moon

Add United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the list of people who understand that arresting and punishing sex workers is counter-productive in the battle against HIV/AIDS. And take the government of Cambodia off that list.

The Global Working Group on HIV and Sex Work Policy wrote to Ban in June to applaud his statement commending the findings of a March report that favored decriminalizing sex work. The Report of the Commission on AIDS in Asia noted that sex workers are part of the solution to preventing the spread of HIV, and advised countries to “avoid programs that accentuate AIDS-related stigma and can be counterproductive. Such programs may include ‘crack-downs’ on red-light areas and arrest of sex workers.”

To express their gratitude for this understanding, sex workers and advocates circulated a statement at the June 11-12 UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS as Ban spoke to the gathering in New York. “Sex workers thank [Ban] for his support of their efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” the statement said.

The March report strongly advised countries to enlist sex workers in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV. It included firm recommendations against punitive measures targeting sex work and other frowned-upon behaviors, on the grounds that such approaches have proven counter-productive. The UN Secretary-General supported these recommendations in his statement and sex workers everywhere are grateful.

Unfortunately, some governments continue to deny reality.

Under pressure from the United States, Cambodia outlawed prostitution in February. The government’s promotion of a “no condoms, no sex” program in legal brothels there had succeeded in reducing HIV infection rates, but now those brothels have closed or gone underground, along with bars, karaoke clubs and street areas. Hundreds of women have been arrested, jailed or displaced, while dozens have been raped and beaten by police and prison guards. The HIV prevention and care programs that were working have collapsed.