During the workshop on Advocacy and Communication Incidence, 30 sex workers participating agreed that the priority is to have in every country a Law recognizing sex work as work.
It was agreed that every country should have a Law recognizing sex work as work and that national organization of female sex workers be included in the unions of their countries. (Please see the “Fight that is coming” below). In this way women working as sex workers may organize and work in fair and protected way such as any other worker.
In order to reach that objective it will be necessary to strengthen and deepen alliances and the participation in policy-making spaces. Such RedTraSex Executive Secretary Elena Reynaga stated: “Every day there will be more doors open. Being in new spaces does not imply sitting in a chair but to prepare and capacitate ourselves even more for debates and discussions and advocate our standings. To do so we should widen our working bases, trainings and sociability with more fellow workers. Recognition gives us empowerment and information to debate whatever we have to debate”.
In this sense another priority was defined: the participation of RedTraSex and its member organizations in national areas such as the Cairo Programme of Action +20. The UN General Assembly has started organizing together with the UN Population Fund for the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development. It is a highly important place as the main objectives of Cairo+20 are to strengthen women contribution for sustainable development by means of the full women participation in the policy making and adoption of public life related decisions.
During the workshop fellow workers agreed that apart from the laws, there should be follow-ups and controls for their fulfillment. In this sense the study on Political Incidence and Participation that RedTraSex is drafting will evidence what laws and rules exist in the region for the defense of sex workers human rights and the scope of their fulfillment or violation.
Coordinator of the Southern Node and member of the RedTraSex Board of Directors Lucila Esquivel claimed that: “The workshop was important because it enabled us to recognize we have experience and that the work we have been doing it´s called political incidence. The idea is that the work be more professionalized while we reflect on what we have been doing”. See video
15 years of advocacy and achievements
At the end of the workshop we celebrated 15 years of the Network with international guests who helped us to have a timeline of our present history and to project together a future for growth. With a luxury panel we revived the most important moments of our history with anecdotes and shared emotions celebrating our first 15 years of life with joy. In such an important moment the Board of Directors, composed of Haydeé Lainez (El Salvador), Elizabeth Molina (Ecuador) and Lucila Esquivel (Paraguay) revised the Network’s history together with key Network’s advocates such as Corina Straatsma (Hivos Regional Director), César Nuñez (UNAIDS Regional Director) and Eric Carlson (ILO Regional Expert on HIV/AIDS).
In order to start the revision Corina Straatsma remembered how the first meetings were and how from their organization Hivos started to advocate against double standards and biases supporting female sex workers. “At the time we met there weren´t many female sex workers organizations. We know AMMAR from Argentina. We saw we could have a project and explained why it was not convenient to meet in 1997. There weren´t many expectations but today we are glad to see a strengthened Network”.
César Nuñez who witnessed the Network growth expressed that in his opinion the Network had undergone an “impressive metamorphosis, a change and an evolution for its empowerment” and added “we should be very proud for what was achieved. There are other organizations similar but none with the charisma that this Network has. I´m very glad for the project you are carrying out and also that the World Fund has trusted you. The UN will keep on seconding the Network or any sex worker in the search of their universal rights, and that will enable us to have a better impact on HIV”.
During the whole week of the workshop many strategies that national female sex workers organizations will carry out in their countries were on debate. In this context the presence and words of Eric Carlson were paramount. The ILO Regional Expert on HIV and AIDS explained that in accordance to the ILO sexual work is considered work, arising from a vision of human and labor rights.
Regarding the future and the potential work between the ILO and RedTraSex Eric mentioned Resolution Nbr. 200 on HIV and Aids in the working environment, explaining that there lays the way to work on HIV prevention within the working framework. “The future will be that you are on the table as workers debating their rights instead of being there once in a while when there is something to analyze. We have to put an end to those speaking on your behalf; your voice should be included. This is the objective of everybody´s human rights.
Fellow workers present in the celebration also took time to think of the future, to dream the RedTraSex that we want to have in a few years, that we share with you on this video (see here) where you will listen in first hand every one of the people responsible for this history.
To see the videos of the last 15 years please click here: