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Nasty Sweden...

Sex workers take action against a parliamentary move to introduce manadatory jail for men caught paying for sex


Link Here6th May 2022
Full story: Sex Work in Sweden...Criminalised purchase of sex

The European Sex Worker Alliance (ESWA) is circulating a petition in solidarity with Swedish sex worker activists fighting a politically motivated attempt to require mandatory jail time for their clients.

In a letter to the Swedish Parliament published in English and Sweden, the ESWA addressed the upcoming May 31 vote on a proposal to increase the minimum punishment for the purchase of sexual services from a fine to a prison sentence.

The group urged Swedish politicians who are threatening the livelihoods of the country's sex workers to listen to sex workers, to consider current, as well as upcoming, research on the matter and to take into account the countless recommendations from organizations, including the sex worker-led organization Red Umbrella Sweden, to start committing to supporting a legal framework for people working in the sex trade, that protects and affirms those individuals' human rights.

The letter reads:

It has come to our attention that there will be a vote on the 31st of May on a proposal to increase the minimum punishment for the purchase of sexual services from a fine to a prison sentence. 

Sex workers in Sweden, as in many countries in Europe and globally, are amongst the most marginalised and discriminated against members of society, and experience high levels of violence and human rights violations.

We urge you to listen to sex workers, to consider current, as well as upcoming, research on the matter, and to take into account the countless recommendations from organisations, including the sex worker-led organisation Red Umbrella Sweden, to start committing to supporting a legal framework for people working in the sex trade, that protects and affirms those individuals’ human rights.

We are deeply concerned that research indicates that the current Swedish government’s "pursuit of sex buyers and combatting sex trafficking functions as punitive and racialised policing, targeting people in the sex trade and resulting in forced evictions, deportations, and police harassment. This increases their vulnerability for violence and experiences of stigma".

It is also very alarming to hear that the Swedish government is positioning themselves to support this, when there are many recommendations that Sweden should be adapting the approach and policy making regarding sex work and people in the sex trade. From WHO, Amnesty International, UNAIDS, ILGA Europe, ESWA, NSWP, La Strada International, the Global Alliance Against Traffic In Women, TGEU and independent researchers, there is a clear recommendation to decriminalise sex work, because of the negative effects of any form of criminalisation of sex workers and their environments. The European Convention on Human Rights recognises, under Article 11, the fundamental right to form and to join trade unions, making unionisation an established right that applies across the member states of the Council of Europe.

 

 

Australia's Online 'Safety' Bill endangers sex workers...

Sex workers' social media site Switter is forced to shut down in anticipation of new censorship laws


Link Here 13th February 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
A social media platform for sex workers with close to half a million users globally has shut down over legal concerns regarding online safety laws and the Australian government's social media defamation legislation.

Switter, which runs on Twitter-replica Mastodon, was set up by an Australian collective of sex workers and technologists, Assembly Four, in 2018 in response to the anti-sex trafficking legislation known as Sesta/Fosta in the United States.

Switter works as a safe space by, and for, sex workers, with little concern that their content or accounts will be censored. On the site, sex workers can find each other, share safety information, find clients and find out legal information or service availability.

However, the managers of the site have announced that they had decided to shut down immediately, telling its more than 420,000 users the raft of online safety and defamation laws in the US, UK and Australia made it difficult to keep the platform running. A letter from the management explains:

The recent anti-sex work and anti-LGBTQIA+ legislative changes not only in Australia, but in the UK, US and other jurisdictions have made it impossible for us to appropriately and ethically maintain compliance over 420,690+ users,.

Another concern leading to the shut down is the prospect of the Australian government's so-called social media anti-trolling legislation. The legislation, which will make platforms liable for defamation if they do not help to unmask an account making defamatory comments, would place a platform like Switter in the position of potentially having sex workers or their clients' anonymity removed in a time when they can still face discrimination from banks, housing and other institutions for the work.

 

 

Laid before the House...

Australian state of Victoria passes law to decriminalise sex work


Link Here9th February 2022
Full story: Legal Brothels in Australia...Movement to legalise brothels in Australia
Victoria has become the third Australian state to decriminalise sex work.

The state's upper house voted to pass the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill, with it winning 24 votes to 10.

The new law will ensure sex workers in Victoria have the same protections and recognition as any other worker, giving sex workers the independence to make free and fair choices about their employment.

The first phase of decriminalising sex work will commence in May and will remove most offences and criminal penalties for individuals participating in consensual sex work. The second phase is expected to commence in late 2023 and will include the remainder of the reforms, and repeal the sex work licensing system.

Fiona Patten, who has been campaigning for the change, said it had been 40 years in the making:

 I hope that one day, stigma of sex workers will be a distant memory, and it will be because of decades of work from many people and organisations

The two other jurisdictions that have decriminalised sex work are NSW and Northern Territory.

 

 

Unsafe law...

Amnesty International finds that Ireland's prostitution laws facilitate violent attacks on sex workers


Link Here27th January 2022
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
Amnesty International has found that Ireland's prostitution laws are facilitating violent attacks against sex workers. Sex workers say they see police as a threat rather than a shield.

Research carried out by Amnesty International warned legislation implemented in 2017 was driving sex workers to put their lives at risk in a desperate bid to dodge the police. The organisation accused authorities of misusing the law, which was billed as being created to stop human trafficking and exploitation of sex workers. Amnesty reported:

Our research clearly shows that criminalising the purchase of sex is forcing sex workers to take more risks while penalising brothel-keeping is preventing sex workers from working together to ensure their own safety.

Ireland criminalised the buying of sex and substantially bolstered penalties dished out for brothel-keeping -- which is defined as two or more sex workers operating from the same property.

Many sex workers choose to work together to keep safe from clients but those doing so in Ireland can be sentenced to a year in jail or hit with a 5,000 euro (£4,187) fine under the 2017 laws.

The new research, based on interviews with sex workers, found most had been subjected to violence from clients while doing their jobs. But sex workers said they were too scared of the police to report attacks against them due to assuming the complaint would not be followed up - with them also voicing fears of experiencing harassment or violence from police officers.

The Irish government is presently reviewing the laws which are known as the Nordic Model after they were first introduced in Sweden.




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