SEX WORKER PRIDE DAY 2019

SEX WORKER PRIDE DAY on September 14, 2019, celebrated sex workers' self-determination and enhanced visibility, as well as the achievements of sex worker-led organizations. Sex Worker Pride extends to all marginalized by criminalization, discrimination, and stigma across the sex worker movement and celebrates the diversity within our community during International sex worker pride. 

The year, to celebrate Sex Worker Pride Day, APNSW collected stories from sex worker member organizations to show solidarity from different areas of the world:

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Project X, Singapore

In the recent year, we have been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm shown by a number of sex workers involved in our advocacy work. More sex workers are stepping forward to accept public speaking engagements in schools, community spaces and at our community centre. In the photography project, ‘Culture X’, several women are taking charge of the representation of sex workers in the media, by leading the creative direction of their photo shoots. A particularly proud moment from this year was watching some of the sex workers from our network raise their concerns and key issues to policymakers in a candid yet eloquent manner. They expressed their perspectives and insights on a variety of topics, such legal protective measures and limited legal red-light districts. Over the past eleven years, Project X has become a stronger sex workers-led organisation. We are excited to witness and facilitate the growth of community leaders in the sex industry in Singapore.

Name: S.R.T.N |Place of birth: Phnom Penh, | Age: 23 | Occupation: Independent sex worker

My daughter is my life, so my job is the happiness of us, both mother and daughter. I felt embarrassed around my neighbors and afraid that I would embarrass my daughter. However, I still decided to work as a sex worker because it allows me to feed my daughter, my family, support my daughter’s study and to achieve my dream of sending my child to school to be able to read and write. I don’t want her to be as foolish as I am. I have met a lot of challenges in this work and what hurt me the most when I was sent off to Prey Speu Detention Center for three months with my daughter while she was only five months old. She cried so hard because there was not enough food for me to eat. We lived in a small room full of people with illnesses. It was like a prison for me and my daughter. Moreover, my daughter and I sometimes had to sleep hungry because we had no money to buy food, both because I did not feel well enough to work and because the police were searching to capture the sex worker working along the park.If I were to stop working as a sex worker, it would be for my child and not because of this society. As long as I live by my own bloodshed, I believe that I can only depend on myself and set my life path by myself.I felt so happy and proud when I escorted to my daughter to school for enrollment. I am willing to endure and struggle with everything just so I can encourage my child to study hard. My daughter makes me forget all the pain, the police and all the tiredness I have had. My daughter’s name is S.K.G, eight years old, and currently studying in kindergarten. You may not think that working as a sex worker is somebody’s choice in Khmer society, but working as a sex worker has helped me to feed my life and my daughter until now.

Society for Women Awareness Nepal (SWAN) is Nepal’s major and first sex worker-led non- governmental organization (NGO) operating in Nepal for more than 13 years to support and empower women who are involved in or vulnerable to economic or sexual exploitation. SWAN aims to create awareness about the situation of these women by providing them with education and information on HIV, SRHR, their rights, economic empowerment, and the care and support they so desperately need. SWAN also works with national policy makers to ensure that women’s voices are heard at the decision- making level. Previously there are so many challenges to fight for sex workers Human Right but there were significantly changes in there and we were discussing on our Human rights in various stakeholders meeting, in Women right movement and also in policy making level. We were tabled our stand for decriminalization of sex work in Nepal in every meeting with policy maker and other stakeholders. APNSW participated to SWAN and sex worker community member of Nepal on SWIT training and we empower for raise our voices for decriminalization of sex work. In addition, NSWP has supported to SWAN for participate in Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) at the 71st Session on September 2018 and this is first time to representations from sex worker community through Nepal in history. After participating this CEADW sessions then, we were more capable and capable for raised voices for decriminalization of sex work in Nepal. We believe that until and unless we can able to mention decriminalization of sex work in our national policy and that would be great achievements for us in sex worker history of Nepal.

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Pertubuhan Kesihatan dan Kebajikan Umum, Sex Worker Community Malaysia

Sex workers community in Malaysia always been left out in every area especially health and human rights. Health always been a taboo subject even though there is access to health in Malaysia Public health system but the system is clearly needs some improvement.

In August 2018, Pertubuhan Kesihatan dan Kebajikan Umum Malaysia (PKKUM) joined Asia Pacific Network of Sex Worker (APNSW) with 3 main objectives which is to:

- To reduce stigma and discrimination among the sex workers community.

- To empower the Sex Worker Community at large.

- To celebrate diversity among Sex Worker Community Male, Female and Transgender.

With this positive development PKKUM will be the bridge that unite the community and further empower them to reclaim their health rights and social inclusion. For the beginning, APNSW bestowed PKKUM a small grant to review law that effect Sex Worker Community and in 2019, PPKUM successfully organized National Level Service Worker Implementation Tool Workshop (SWIT) in August. 8 Community Led Organization from all over Malaysia came together and learned about the 6 important pillars to implement meaningful program for Sex Workers under the guidance of Miss Kay Thi Win, APNSW Executive Director and Mr. Habiburahman as Trainer. With this SWIT activities, PKKUM believes the Sex Worker Community will unite and moving forward together, stronger.

My name is Wut Yee, I m 35 year old and from Myanmar. I am a Sex Worker and choice to work as sex worker and proud for that. I work as sex worker and there is nothing wrong with this. Few years ago, I face financial problem in my family and my husband could not manage to solve the problem. I have two children (6 year old boy and 4 year old girl). I need to send my sun to school and I do not have money for school entry fees. On the other hand, I could not find job as i m limited education and also job i found was very little money and 12 hour a day and 6 day a week to work. If I could not go to work one day the company cut my salary (1.5 day of my based salary) for those day in the end i have very little income for hold month work. I decided myself to work in KTV, of course part of sex work too. This work I can get enough income and fill the needs of my family. Now a day, I m advocating on policy change, law have harmful for sex workers community. I have learned a lot around Health (HIV/STI/ SRHR), Human Right of Sex Workers without sex work I will never got those opportunity and experiences. to learn. That why’s I feel confidant and proud ro be sex workers because of sex work I learn a-lot. Also I can provide continues education to my children and support to my family on their needs without tension. Until today, I stand on my own feet with dignity. Thank you everyone and in solidarity on Sex Workers pride day.