Learn new ways to promote rights
Four professional sex activists explore the use of CEDAW in their work
The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers protects and promotes the health and human rights of sex workers in Asia and the Pacific. One of its main programmes is to provide a strategy to raise awareness of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at national level, which includes research, documentation, advocacy and diffusion.
Four sex work activists tell us about their work and the impact of CEDAW training organised by International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP) a Sudden Opportunity grantee, and the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) an influence grantee,
Changing the image of sex work in the media: meet Sherry!
As a researcher and writer of Project X, I advocate for access to justice and a positive image in the media. The sex work industry in Singapore is all the more lucrative as people looking for a better life choose sex work as their main source of income. However, this has its downside. Migrant workers are less protected, access to health care is almost impossible, there are abusive clients and a very negative image in the media when they are apprehended by the police. I started working with CEDAW for the first time in 2017 after training organized by IWRAW AP. During the sessions, it became apparent that capacity building and security gaps are always factors that hamper our advocacy efforts. What struck me most was the use of art for advocacy. Having an overview of the most concerned people around the table has increased my passion as an advocate for sex workers. I urge you, fellow activists working with CEDAW, to always trust the work you do!
Working towards access to health services for all: meet Selvi!
I am a passionate activist for the rights of Female Sex Workers (FSWs) in Malaysia. I have been involved in many HIV-related activities to represent FSWs at national and international levels. I am aware that FSWs still face stigma and discrimination from health workers when accessing health services, especially in relation to HIV and STDs. Participating in the CEDAW regional training has opened my eyes to how my fellow activists around the world are leading the sex workers’ rights movements in their countries. It inspired me to want to be part of the global vision by investing time in collective work to ensure that the rights of sex workers are recognised as normal work. The main thing I have learned is that building alliances and equipping ourselves with the right information and skills will go a long way towards decriminalizing sex recognized as a normal job. The main thing I have learned is that building alliances and equipping ourselves with the right information and skills will go a long way towards decriminalizing sex work in Malaysia, especially since it is ratified by CEDAW!
Veiller à la reconnaissance du travail du sexe comme un travail au Népal : voici Simran !
As a transgender woman and activist, my passion lies in promoting the rights of LGBTI, transgender sex workers and sex workers in general in Nepal. Nepal has no legal provisions regarding sex workers. As a result, law enforcement officials target and harass sex workers because they do not recognize their work. A very big moment for me was the day I made a presentation at the CEDAW training (my second time!). It was exhilarating to represent the voice of my community. We made great strides in securing our place at the table and not on the menu! However, I recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done to have free conversations about sex work and the sex workers’ rights movement, especially to improve the way it is portrayed in traditional media.
With over 10 years of activism, Kusum continues to learn new strategies for his work
In India, the voices of sex workers are part of the solutions to guarantee their rights. Sex workers are part of the national HIV prevention programme and support people infected with HIV, while working closely with the government to create safe spaces for sex workers. For me, being a sex worker means being able to afford to take care of my family and I really enjoy my work. Attending the recent CEDAW training was a perfect learning experience for me as I was able to understand what is happening in our region on the issues and activities undertaken by sex workers. One of the interesting points for me was how similar our problems as sex workers are despite the countries we live in and the different approaches taken to address these challenges.