Cambodian Sex Worker Liberation (APNSW video)

depressed because of criminalization not trafficking

depressed because of criminalization not trafficking

Pisey Ly and Kao Tha are AMAZING activist for Cambodian sex worker liberation!!

PI Say and Kao Ta (sp?) are AMAZING activist for Cambodian sex worker liberation!!

Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) Honored at AIDS Conference (where I am at right now!)

(Mexico City, August 6, 2008) – The Asia Pacific Network of Sex
Workers (APNSW) is the recipient of the 2008 international Award
for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, the Canadian HIV/AIDS
Legal Network and Human Rights Watch announced today. The award,
which recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that
protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by
HIV/AIDS, was presented in Mexico City on August 6, 2008, at the
XVII International AIDS Conference.

“Sex workers routinely face human rights abuses, including the
discriminatory denial of health services, arbitrary detention by
police, harassment, and sexual and physical violence,” said Richard
Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
(www.aidslaw.ca ). “This award recognizes
the extraordinary contribution of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex
Workers in the struggle for sex workers’ rights.”

Since 1994, APNSW has represented sex workers in various policy and
educational forums, promoting the participation of sex workers in
HIV/AIDS programs and supporting dialogue between nongovernmental
organizations, governments, and activists. The group has challenged
the increasing criminalization of all forms of sex work and
unethical drug trials with sex workers as subjects.

APNSW has shaped policy at the global and regional levels, and
built the capacity of local grassroots sex worker organizations,
including by creating a network of transgender activists.
Throughout Asia, the network has been challenging gender-based
violence, promoting access to health care for sex workers, and
advocating for the decriminalization of sex work.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the Asia Pacific
Network for Sex Workers,” said Andrew Hunter, the network’s policy
director. “International recognition of sex workers’ human rights
is vital to curb the HIV pandemic. Governments and UN agencies need
to promote sustainable, comprehensive HIV prevention and care
initiatives for sex workers that are community-led and protect
their human rights.”

The stigmatization, social exclusion, and legal marginalization of
sex workers contribute to human rights violations, and can
exacerbate their risk of HIV infection. Increasingly, according to
APNSW, anti-trafficking efforts and laws criminalizing
transactional sex have resulted in violence and human rights abuses
against sex workers at the hands of police. The organization
pointed to new anti-trafficking legislation in Cambodia, where sex
workers have been sent to “rehabilitation” centers and subjected to
sexual violence and beatings, and had little access to health care
or food.

“Being a part of APNSW – working in solidarity with tens of
thousands of sex workers in the region – has allowed us to
challenge the way the authorities have applied this law in
Cambodia, and to gain strength to bring this issue to international
attention,” said Kao Tha of the Women’s Network for Unity, a sex
worker rights organization in Cambodia.

“The International AIDS Conference presents a forum to focus
worldwide attention on the epidemic and our global response,” said
Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS program at Human Rights Watch
(www.hrw.org/hivaids). “Unfortunately, too often that response has
been tainted by prejudice and misinformation. Only by ensuring the
health and human rights of sex workers will governments, UN
agencies, donors and nongovernmental groups be effective at
reducing the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV infection. The
Asia Pacific Network’s work epitomizes this.”

The Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights were established
in 2002 by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights
Watch. An award is presented annually to one Canadian and one
international recipient. This year’s Canadian recipient was Peter
Collins, a prisoner and health activist in Ontario, Canada.

It’s been a honor to be collaborating with Andrew, Dale and APNSW. PLEASE CHECK OUT THEIR VIDEO and learn more about the situation in Cambodia! WordPress doesn’t let you embed anything from Blip.tv for some dumb reason. Star Whores 2 show tomorrow at 2:45pm!

* APNSW website: http://apnsw.org/apnsw.htm
* APNSW video on HIV/AIDS and sex workers’ human rights: http://

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