Recent Discussion of PEPFAR’s Anti-Prostitution Clause

Melissa Ditmore discussing the ramifications of PEPFAR’s anti-prostitution policy on sex workers over at the Global Health Magazine blog.

Since we’re on the subject, especially in light of the amazing protests at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna last month, this is not a bad time to suggest you review the amazing short film “Taking The Pledge”

Denial of Service: Sex Workers Confront Dr. Eric Goosby and Protest the Anti-Prostitution Pledge

Since the opening plenary for the International AIDS Conference (IAC) on Sunday, July 18th, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) has been a vocal and visible presence at the conference. NSWP members have challenged both policy makers and funding agencies to break with the status quo, which perpetuates institutional violence and violation of sex worker’s human rights that lead to a higher rates of HIV infection and death.

On Tuesday, July 20th, NSWP organized sex workers and allies to disrupt a speech by United States Global AIDS Coordinator Dr. Eric Goosby to demand justice for sex workers harmed by PEPFAR’s discriminatory anti-prostitution loyalty oath.

Download the NSWP press release about the protest, a one page English PDF, here.

Here are some reports from NSWP activists who were there:

“On Tuesday, July 20 sex workers’ rights activists marched through the IAC conference centre to protest the PEPFAR Anti Prostitution Pledge at a session at which was to be a presenter. Eric Goosby cancelled his speech to avoid the sex workers and instead held a press conference in the media centre. Sex worker activists followed him there, where we loudly accused him of murdering sex workers and preventing the crucial funding for sex workers. Everyone was upset and challenging him to be responsible and support human rights for all. I sat on the table with my red umbrella and screamed that he was a murderer, and everyone was chanting “SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!!” He tried to escape and fell from his chair, and then he was helped to his feet by security and escorted out. The media stayed in the room and sex workers were venting their issues of concern. For example, in Uganda the only funding is for rehabilitation and there is NO money for condoms. In Kenya there is no funding for necessary sex worker support services, only rehabilitation. All who receive money from USAID’s PEPFAR fund have to sign an anti-prostitution loyalty oath. We left chanting, “sex workers united will never be defeated!!! PEPFAR kills sex workers!!!”

Cheryl Overs, Paulo Longo Research Institute, Asia and the Pacific Region

Watch a video of the protest, featuring some of the sex workers’ chants and impassioned speeches from Kyomya Macklean, of the Ugandan sex worker group WONETHA, and John Mathenge, a male sex worker from Kenya.

“After we chased Goosby out of the press conference room, sex workers from around the world took over the microphones and held their own press conference while the whole world was watching and declared that we will follow Goosby to every presentation he makes until he answers for the crimes of PEPFAR’s anti-prostitution pledge.”

Will Rockwell, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, North America Region

“The protesters toured the Center for Media, carrying red umbrellas and placards with slogans. One of the interviewees was the prostitute [Kyomya] Macklean, Uganda: “We want respect, recognition, social inclusion, and dialogue with our political leaders. And we can’t do all this without funding. ”

After a few minutes, everyone was ushered out of the Center for Media, but continued to move through the wide corridors of the Convention Center, moving in the direction of the Global Village. The group celebrated the impact of the action at the booth of the Global Network of Sex Work (NSWP), which promoted the protest.

Sex workers from around the world demand that the U.S. funds to fight AIDS, via USAID’s PEPFAR program, do not discriminate. It is essential to support sex worker organizations in order to strengthen HIV prevention.”

Flavio Lenz, Davida, Latin America Region

Editor’s note: Flavio’s statement is based on a rough translation using the Google translate tool. Click here for the original version in Portuguese.

Four years ago in 2006, at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, NSWP member Melissa Ditmore and journalist Erin Siegal collected footage and interviews for a short film on PEPFAR and how it harms sex workers – not much has changed. Watch the thirteen minute film, Taking the Pledge, here.

World AIDS Day: A PEPFAR for the United States, without The Pledge?

I was chosen as the first caller today on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Pledge —

“On World AIDS Day, researcher Robert Gallo salutes President Bush’s successful efforts to fight the disease overseas. But with infections on the rise in America’s inner cities, Gallo argues that similar strategies must be employed in the U.S.”

Gallo had an editorial in the Washington Post calling for PEPFAR to be reproduced in the US, with a focus on “inner cities.” Gallo was part of the research team that claims to have discovered the HIV virus created the HIV blood test. I called in to raise the concern that ideological funding restrictions, like the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath, could remain if we were to expand PEPFAR into the US. I stated the need for evidence-based programs that do not discriminate, and got to respond back to Gallo when he questioned how grassroots our efforts are around the world. There’s nothing like saying, “200 of us gathered at the International AIDS Conference to call for an end to the Pledge. We’re working in Cambodia, in India, in Mexico. We’re working together.”

The show archive should be posted online later today. (I was actually totally nervous — blame my having learned any sense of how to speak in public from having listened to a lot of NPR as a kid, pressure! — so bear with my shaky voice.)

US sex workers will be rallying in DC on Dec 17th, and calling for an end to The Pledge and discrimination against sex workers. Join us.

Anti-Prostitution Pledge Results in Discriminatory Treatment

Melissa Ditmore’s latest on the anti-prostitution pledge at http://www.rhrealitycheck.org:

Anti-Prostitution Pledge Results in Discriminatory Treatment
Melissa Ditmore on October 9, 2008 – 8:00am
Recently on RH Reality Check, I examined the damaging effects on sex workers of a new law against prostitution in Cambodia. The perception on the ground is that the law was passed so that Cambodia could avoid sanctions associated with the US Traffic in Persons report.
This is not the first time that sex workers have been sacrificed at the altar of US funding. Anti-trafficking funding and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) deny funding to any organization that does not have an explicit policy against prostitution and sex trafficking. Outwardly, this seems innocuous, but the restriction has been used in ways that seriously undermine public health and anti-trafficking efforts in the developing world. Denying services to sex workers is counter-productive in both areas.
In addition, the terms of the restriction have been left ambiguous, allowing some self-appointed experts to act as “police” for the US government in watching aid recipients for alleged missteps. CHANGE released an updated policy brief detailing the ways in which sex workers have been adversely affected by this restriction.

Urgent Call to Action! Anti-Trafficking Law in Cambodia

From Andrew Hunter at the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers

Cambodia has recently passed an anti-trafficking law which equates all sex work with trafficking and has led to massive closures of brothels and widespread human rights abuses against sex workers. Sex workers have been forcibly detained in rehabilitation centres where they have been raped and robbed by police and guards. Thousands of women have lost their livelihoods and HIV positive sex workers have great difficulty in accessing ARV’s- both in and outside the detention centres.

Condoms are being used as evidence of sex work and carrying condoms leads to arrest or forced “rehabilitation.” Sex workers are scared to carry condoms and to access STI services. The national HIV prevention programs for sex workers have completely broken down.

On June 4 Women’s Network for Unity, Cambodian Prostitutes Union and Cambodian Network for Men’s and Women’s Development- Cambodia’s 3 grass-roots Sex Worker Networks are coming together with APNSW to have an open day of Action.

WNU have also written to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen asking for his intervention to protect sex workers from the human rights abuses encouraged by this law, and those abuses that are a direct result of it’s enforcement.

The press release is pasted below and the letter to PM Hun Sen is attached.

APNSW calls on all those organisations who support the human rights of sex workers to sign onto these demands by declaring their support for WNU’s call for this situation to be urgently addressed by the government of Cambodia and for UNAIDS and other UN agencies to openly declare their support for sex workers human rights and to reject the anti-trafficking law itself as a violation of sex workers human rights.

“OPEN DAY OF ACTION!”


TO STOP SEX WORKER RAIDS AND CALL FOR THE REPEAL OF THE TRAFFICKING LAW THAT THE CAMBODIAN GOVERNMENT PASSED TO MEET STANDARDS IMPOSED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT

Sex Work Is Work…Defend the Right to Livelihood’

June 04th 2008: The Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), a group of sex workers who work to empower vulnerable women and who are involved in the reduction of the spread of HIV/AIDS, closely collaborating with the Cambodian Prostitutes Union (CPU) and Cambodian Men, Women Network for Development (CMNWD), will organise an “Open Day of Action” to stop sex worker raids and call for the repeal of the “Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation” that the Cambodian Government passed recently, under pressure to comply with the United States policy on human trafficking. The Open Day of Action also has strong support from the Asia Pacific Network for Sex Workers (APNSW).

The law was introduced to eliminate trafficking by stamping out the sex industry. Since then brothels, bars, street areas, and karaoke clubs across the country have been closed or gone underground. Hundreds of women have been arrested and imprisoned, or have had to move. Dozens have been raped and beaten by police and prison guards. HIV prevention and care programs have collapsed. This law makes us easier prey for traffickers, and makes it impossible for us to use condoms.

The negative impact of the law will be shown by sex workers through role play, speech and video evidence of the brutality and misery this new law is causing. There also will be two sex workers from India who will speak about sex workers fight against trafficking, a model of anti-trafficking that respects human rights, is effective and not in conflict with HIV prevention programs. There will be a video about the activities of sex workers in Sonagachi, India, to fight trafficking. The Messenger Band will sing a song on sex workers defending the right to livelihood.

We strongly call for repeal of the law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation and for an end to raids on sex workers.


Don’t be fooled by talk of rescuing ‘sex slaves’ until you have heard our testimonials and seen video evidence of the brutality and misery this new law is causing.


I did not receive the letter attached to the original email. As soon as I get it, I’ll make it available here.

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network on Blog Talk Radio

Here is the latest updated program listing. All shows available at www.xxbn.net www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast Times listed are Eastern time. All programing subject to change. All previous programs are archived, please check for great guests. Thank you to Liz Berlin of Rusted Root and The Naked Heroes for their music for our programs. Listener call number 646.200.3136

  [172657]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Desiree Alliance The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers. We provide leadership and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labour and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [171963]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet pxrn performer, sex workers rights advocate
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/3/2008
6:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [172663]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Discussing the alleged “The Pimp Lobby” Maxine Doogan, Jill Brenneman and other guests..
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
12:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com​ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.com​ht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [172226]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Gracie Passette Gracie Passette is a sex worker, though no longer working directly with clients in the flesh; she now uses media to work with the issues of sexuality.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/5/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173836]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network SerpentLibertine
SerpentLibertine is a veteran sex worker and activist with Sex Worker’s Outreach Project-Chicago. She has worked in many facets of the sex industry as a dominatrix, escort, masseuse, and madam, as well as behind the camera doing castin, camera, and sound on shoots. She is currently creating sex worker made videos and podcasts for her new project, Red Light District Chicago and helping organize the Desiree Alliance Conference in Chicago in Summer of 2008. You can also visit her blog at http://www.sexpr Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/6/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173589]
XBN Swopeast Broadcast Network
Queen of the Sky the Most Famous Blog-Fired Flight Attendant”
Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/7/2008
4:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [171042]
XBN Special Guest Der Gregor
Der Gregor- FEMINISM UNMODIFIED Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/7/2008
11:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173109]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/8/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173858]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
The Naked Heroes, time to be determined Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/10/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173647]
TBD
TBD Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/22/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes

Live on Blog Talk Radio XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network 5PM Eastern Saturday 3.29.08

XBN Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Please join XBN at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Listener Call in number 646.200.3136

Join sex workers and sex worker rights activists in media created and driven by us!

Upcoming Guests

Guest Carol Leigh! Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot Unrepentant Whore published by Last Gasp Carol Leigh,

3/31/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171865]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest to be determined

4/1/2008
8:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest to be determined

4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet porn performer, sex workers rights


Everyone 4/3/2008
9:30 PM
60 Minutes [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com
ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.comht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights. internet, jill brenneman XBN, Melissa Gira, sex work, sex workers, sex workers outreach project, swop, swopeast Politics Progressive
Mature 4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes

All previous shows are available for playback or download at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Previous Guests include:

Veronica Monet

Constance Sisk

Stacey from Desiree Alliance

Maxine Doogan

Amanda Brooks

And a live call in show after a Presentation by Jill Brenneman at William & Mary, this program hosted by Amanda Brooks, features many live calls from the presentation audience from the Brenneman presentation who stayed and joined XBN’s live broadcast which was being simulcast over the auditorium. This presentation was in response to the significant protest and backlash against the organizers and supporters of the Sex Worker’s Art Show Appearance at William & Mary and protests against the Sex Workers Art Show themselves. As the show demonstrates there is a lot of support for the Sex Workers Art Show at William and Mary.

Many outstanding guests are being scheduled, please watch for updates! If you would like to be a guest on this revolutionary project bringing sex workers voices to the media please contact www.swopeast.org

If you are a sex worker or sex worker rights musician and would like to make your music available to XBN, please contact us as we are in need of both theme music and would love to feature and credit sex worker and sex worker rights musicians.

XBN: Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Many Thanks to The Naked Heroes for letting us use their awesome music on XBN! Please check them out and support them!!! http://www.myspace.com/thenakedheroes

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