Dedicated to Robyn Few

Silenced by U.S. Restrictions


 John Mathenge: „In Kolkata, we are protesting against the U.S. government and telling them to respect sex workers. Sex workers are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children. HIV does not respect people. If we are fighting HIV, we need to join hands no matter whether we are straight, gay, sex workers, whatever…but with no discrimination. This is high time we tell the U.S. government they should respect all human rights – whether you are a sex worker, straight, gay, disabled. We are all equal.“


Meena Seshu SANGRAM and Anna Pickering New Zealand Prostitutes Collective:
„Sex workers are in the forefront of fighting this epidemic all over the world,“ Seshu says. „It is unfortunate that the U.S. government has kept us out of these deliberations.“



„Elly Katabira, president of the International AIDS Society, has reportedly said that the exclusion of sex workers and drug users from the Washington DC conference was not an issue as they are criminals.”voice

„As the International AIDS Conference ended in Washington D.C. this week, rumor has it that the lead organizer invited participants to celebrate the fact that “criminals” had been kept out of the conference.“voice


„PEPFAR has delivered millions of dollars of aid annually since its inception, including 6.4 billion dollars in southern Africa alone since 2004.PEPFAR includes a restriction against funding for any project that advocates for human trafficking or the legalization of prostitution.
PEPFAR undermines effective programming with sex workers and contributes to their social isolation and poor health outcomes, especially as it relates to HIV and sexually transmitted infections.“voice

„PEPFAR includes a restriction against funding for any project that advocates for human trafficking or the legalization of prostitution.“



Daughty Ogutu founding member of the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA):
„Violence against us is not only tolerated, but even expected by society. It is clear that labelling sex workers as criminals puts us at odds with law enforcement authorities who should be protecting us and it sends a message to society that sex workers are expendable. Sex workers are not criminals and violence against us must be classified as a crime.

Ironically, when human rights abuses are reported to the police, they (police) turn a blind eye and fail to act. In the worst case, the same police even rape young girls who report such cases to them. Thus, the criminalization of sex work forces sex workers to live in fear of police who harass and abuse them with impunity.“ SOURCE

Maggie McNeill: „Those who wish to control others … believe that morality is set in stone; they think that right and wrong are as separate and distinct as black and white … Rational people, however,… understand that morality is a process of weighing out various factors, comparing the relative right and wrong of each, in order to come to the most just, least harmful decision possible; it is not merely a matter of blind, robot-like obedience to some ultimate moral authority which instantly excuses any cruelty, harm or absurdity as long as “The Law” is followed to the letter.“ voice


„Meanwhile, representatives from sex workers organizations from six continents resolved that media regulatory bodies across the world should safeguard the rights of the community to ensue that media does not violate their rights and maintain the highest professional standards of sensitivity and inclusiveness.“



„Sex workers are ill-treated by both public and authorities in our country. Sometimes they are locked up at police station and physically abused by police officers for many days.“

Phelister Wambolabdalla, another Kenyan, said safety of sex workers is a serious concern in their country. „We are lonely and don’t feel safe in our country.


a Gambian HIV activist confronted Frist directly from the convention floor, telling him that “millions of lives would have been saved if you had listened to us before.”

„we have been consistently excluded and marginalised from making the decisions that determine our lives.“

„The exclusion of people who use drugs and sex workers in this conference has been an abomination. We must not miss anyone at the next conference. We must ensure that no single community and no single region is excluded from the dialogue.“




„The report by the Global Commission on HIV — supported by the U.N. Development Program and Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS — called for an end to „punitive“ laws, which it said are stifling efforts to prevent the transmission of HIV.
Rather than punishing consenting adults involved in sex work, countries must ensure safe working conditions, and offer sex workers and their clients access to effective HIV and health services and commodities.“

Click the report

„Moderator Cheryl Overs, of Australia, emphasized to the audience the importance of acknowledging the human rights and dignity of sex workers so they would not be forced to the margins of society. She also said that because sex work is a form of employment, it was likely that the problems associated with the testing and regulation of sex workers were more likely to be resolved through labor laws than through public health initiatives.“


from the closing speech by Anna Zakowicz, Washington:
„we are concerned with the relative lack of attention to the behavioural and social determinants. A solely biomedical approach to the HIV response will not be enough to prevent new infections and ensure access to treatment, care and support services for those who need them. As we move towards Melbourne, we need to link both medical and social approaches and we need to ensure that people living with HIV and key populations are central to the response.

the pharmaceutical companies: Why are you restricting the production of generic medications?! TREATMENT FOR ALL NOW

A question to the United States of America – why are you on one hand providing treatment through PEPFAR, while on the other you are denying treatment by supporting free trade agreements which block access to low cost generics.

We must also repeal these punitive laws, laws that criminalise people living with HIV, gay men, transgender and intersex people, people who use drugs and sex workers. These laws are wasteful, violate human rights and undermine public health. This means not singling out HIV or people living with HIV under the criminal laws.
We do not need a legal framework to reach sex workers in dangerous places. We need laws that get commercial sex out of dangerous places and into safe ones.

Allowing repressive laws in any criminal justice system is not the way to solve these issues! These kinds of criminal law is informed by stigma, not by science.“





German prostitution law under pressure

excerpt from my conversation with Andrew Hunter, NSWP PRESIDENT (Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers) from july 10, 2012:

Diskrete Kunst: The report states on p. 41 that there is still mandatory or forced testing in Germany. But that has been abolished in 2000. The present conservative government discuss to reintroduce forced testing with the amendment of the bill.

Andrew Hunter: Are they planning other changes or just planning to reintroduce the compulsory testing?

Diskrete Kunst: Compulsory testing, forced condom use (as it still exist in the federal state Bavaria), clients should be arrested to pay for sex with a prostitute subject to force and coercion, more regulation of indoor prostitution by extending the term „brothel“ on flats to undermine the inviolability of the home by expanding access of authorities anytime; beyond this there still exist a lots of local planning laws that define non-prostitution zones in many cities and towns and clients and sexworkers can be also fined under suspicion of soliciting in a street or public space and in case of recurrence arrested. Advertising sexual services is not legal but generally ignored. Its also planned to increase the age of consent from 18 to 21yrs. Actually any migrant sexworker under the age of 21 will be counted as a trafficked victim. Its a shame, there is no effective political lobbying based on a sexworker rights group to make some noise. I tried to build over years but there was almost no interest among sex workers. Therefore I guess the amendment will become successful. The media are full with trafficking news always to discredit sexwork at all.


DISKRETE KUNST: „In my view trafficking advocates have no compassion for consensual sex workers because they neglect the subjectivity and free will of sex workers and therefore to take their own decisions. To deny the ability of consent means to deny the personal status as a citizen and therefore as a human beeing. Needless to say thats a human rights violation. Removal or withdrawal of the personal status of a distinguished group – as we ve learned in history – pave the way not only to outlaw but to prosecute and much worse but also to depersonalise and devalue the person as a person. I would say that the dissociation of trafficking advocates is the reason that they believe to promote human rights and women rights in good faith when in fact they trample on. They aren’t aware of. Presumably because of the effects of their own derealizations.“ (from a discussion on trafficking VS consensual sex work)

Part IV „Who are the criminals?“ upcoming soon


  1. haveanicedai sagt:

    Thank you very much for providing these comprehensive insights – obviously, it is close to impossible to get the same view from any press clipping. Your energy and professionalism to provide transparency is extremely valuable. I do sincerely hope it will help to move the needle and ultimately help to establish more liberal conditions.

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