Presentations At Swou 2011


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Here are the details of the presentations and discussions happening at SWOU 2011.. More to follow in the upcoming days! See the full schedule here.

International sex workers’ rights activists presentation:

Friday 14th of October, the Tent, Arcola Theatre

Presentation of Strass, Syndicat du Travail Sexuel ( French Union of Sex workers)
(Morgane , STRASS General Secretary and delegate from Grenoble and Manon, STRASS member and delegate from Toulouse)

The Strass was created in 2009, during the Assises de la Prostitution in Paris to organise sex workers. Since its creation, it has seen its membership develop from 20 to 500 members. After a short introduction on the situation for sex workers in France, the presentation will focus on the history of Strass, how it is organised, its successes and difficulties as well as its different projects.

(Agnes Khoo)

The Collective for Sex Workers and Supporters (COSWAS) was formed in 1999 to continue the fight for the rights of all sex workers in Taiwan, making it the only sex workers’ rights organization set up by sex workers and for sex workers on the island. In order to expand its influence, COSWAS welcomes supporters and volunteers to work hand-in-hand with ex-licensed prostitutes, street sex workers, as well as women working in tea houses, massage parlours, karaoke bars, brothels and pole-dancing clubs etc.

Presentation of Hydra, organisation for the rights of sex workers, Berlin.
(Liad, Anna, Simone )

Hydra is the first sex workers’ organisation in Germany. Created in 1981, Hydra run peer education programme, offers counselling and advice for sex workers. Hydra was instrumental in the struggle for legalisation of sex work.

Presentation of APNSW from Bandhu Social Welfare Society
(Anisul Islam Hero)

Bandhu Social Welfare Society (BSWS) was formed in 1996 to address concerns of human rights abuse and denial of sexual health rights, and provide a rights-based approach to health and social services for the most stigmatized and vulnerable populations in Bangladesh, MSM in particular kothis/hijras and their partners. The organization was born in response to surveillance studies and a needs assessment which identified MSM as a population in need of different services in Bangladesh. BSWS have been officially registered since 1997 started with a staff of two and a small programme in Central Dhaka was supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Over the years it has emerged as a national ‘MSM’ non-government organization currently providing social and health services to a broad range of ‘MSM’ in 21 districts hosting over 550 employees.

A core objective of BSWS work with MSM and Hijras/TG is to advocate and provide for an environment where the respect and dignity of all MSM, Hijras/TG, irrespective of their specific gender and/or sexual identity, or the lack thereof, is assured, along with the creation of a supportive social, policy and legal environment to enable MSM to more effectively respond to sexual health rights and basic human rights in our country, along with increasing their health seeking behaviors 

Denmark :
Presentation of S.I.O ( sex workers interest organisation )
(Susanne Møller )

SIO was founded in the spring of 2008, mainly as a response to the general political ambition to criminalise our profession. Our primary goal is to avoid the criminalisation of sex work.
We are now 184 members

Sex work in Denmark is officially not regarded as a profession, but as a social problem. As sex workers we find this view illogical and degrading.

Our experiences in sexworker activism is very determined by the situation in Denmark. We have had to create a name for ourselves from day one, and we have had to learn as we went on.

In this first phase, communication has to a very high degree been the essence. To this end, we have used the internet intensively. Using webpages, blogs and so on for campaigns makes it possible, even for a small organization with no money, to match every opponent. And, perhaps more importantly, it makes it possible to swiftly join forces with everyone who wants to contribute.

Read more about SIO

Susanne Møller is the spokesperson of SIO and has her own homepage here (in Danish)

Netherlands :
Presentation of Tampep International Foundation and situation in the Netherlands.
( Dennis van Wanrooij )
TAMPEP was founded in 1993 in response to the needs of migrant sex workers across Europe. It operates a community development and participation model, which is rooted within the equalities and human rights framework, lays the foundation for equitable access to support and services for migrant sex workers and seeks to give voice to migrant sex workers.

Japan :
Presentation of SWASH (Sex worker and sexual health )

Academic presentations on sex work

Friday 14th of October, the Tent, Arcola Theatre.

History of the sex workers’ rights movement in the UK, 1975-2006
Thierry Schaffauser, President of GMB branch I50 (sex workers), Director NSWP Europe, SWOU member

Thierry Schaffauser is many things and he’s a whore like you. He researched the history of the sex worker movement in the UK so we can share this knowledge among sex workers. Knowing our common history of struggles helps us to be better conscious of our condition and to have in mind the examples of our elders before us. Knowing our past is a weapon to build our future.

In whose name? Migration, the sex industry and trafficking
Dr Nick Mai, Reader in Migration Studies at London Metropolitan University, Director of COMIDAS RAPIDAS, MOTHER EUROPE & NORMAL

The relationship between migration, the sex industry and exploitation is a very topical issue and a concern for policymakers, the government, the third sector and the general public alike. The perception that commercial sex is connected to international organised crime and irregular immigration raises social alarms about security in the UK and the extent of trafficking and exploitation in the UK sex industry. The criminal justice and immigration control focus of current anti-trafficking initiatives and the introduction of provisions criminalising the sex industry as a way to fight trafficking in 2009 impacted very negatively on the lives and work of migrants working in the sex industry and resulted in a number of arrests, convictions and deportations for prostitution and immigration crimes). Neither the moral panics about the extent of trafficking nor the criminalising legislation brought in to counter it are informed by existing research evidence. As the new coalition government is currently working on new strategies to fight trafficking and address prostitution, it is topical that the findings of recent and relevant research are communicated effectively and timely to policymakers, the third sector and the general public.

Does the regulation of prostitution/sex work benefits human rights and anti-traficking combat? An ethnographic approach to speeches and stories of social actors from Portugal
Filipa Alvim

Filipa Alvim/ CRIA – Research Center in Anthropology – Portugal:
Anthropologist. CRIA Researcher on Human Rights. Worked in Amnesty International – Portugal, on gender violence, such as domestic violence, sexual violence, genital female mutilation, human trafficking. At present, doing PhD in Anthropology (ISCTE/IUL), with the research project “Human Trafficking in Portugal – Globalization and social panics” (2009-2012).

The combat of human trafficking is in Portugal as real as in any other country in Europe, or “Europe, the fortress”, as some state. Confronting, through ethnographic encounters, the public policies and the speeches and stories of a myriad of social actors – NGOs, Police, State Agencies and Sex Workers (Portuguese and migrants, women, men, transsexuals) – we can see that there is a huge will of “doing good” and to rescue the victims, found mostly in sex industry. But what do sex workers have to say about trafficking? And why are these voices silenced?

Where do we go from here? Sex workers’ response to the anti-trafficking movement.
Dr Jo Doezema, independent researcher, sex worker activist

This presentation will examine sex workers’ responses to the anti-trafficking movement. It will consider a range of responses, from academic to protest and individual to group, throughout the world. It will compare sex workers’ responses to anti-trafficking with other sex worker activism, such as that around HIV. It will ask if it is possible to determine which activities have been most succesful, and if so, what the criteria for determining success should be. This analysis will be used to help formulate directions for future action.

Audience participation in discussion to follow presentation welcome.

Professional Girlfriends in Cambodia
Dr Heidi Hoefinger

Professional girlfriends are young women who engage in multiple sexual/non-sexual ‘transactional’ relationships with ‘western boyfriends’ via a performance of intimacy in order to benefit materially. They reject the label of ‘sex worker’, however, as they engage in more than ‘sex-for-cash’ exchanges, and often seek marriage and love in addition to material comforts. The ‘sex-for-cash’ prostitution framework is, therefore, insufficient for a critical analysis of the complex interplay between simultaneous pragmatic concerns and emotional desires. Instead, the framework of ‘professional girlfriends’ and ‘transactional sex’ provides a more nuanced vocabulary with which to engage in dialogue around the discomforting space where sex, love and money collide.