04 Sep 2015

GNP+ supports the decriminalisation of consensual adult sex work

4 September 2015, Amsterdam, Netherlands – The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) joins voices with our partners NSWP (the International Network of Sex Work Projects) and MSMGF (the Global Forum on MSM and HIV) to condemn the targeting of sexual minorities and the ongoing criminalisation of sex work. We believe that all people should be able to freely exercise personal autonomy in relation of their sexual rights and health.

Last week, federal authorities in New York raided the offices of Rentboy.com, a male-escort website in existence for over 18 years, and arrested several of its staff members. The raid provoked condemnation by local and international human rights advocates as a spurious attack on LGBT sex workers, and renewed advocates’ calls for the decriminalisation of sex work.

GNP+ supports the rights of sex workers to be free of ideological and political coercion, stigma, and violence perpetuated by government officials. Globally, HIV prevalence among sex workers is nearly 12 times as high as in the general population[1].

“The criminalisation of sex work has fueled the HIV epidemic in many parts of the world due, in large measure, to unimaginable levels of violence, stigma and abuse that sex workers face. This interferes with their ability to negotiate and control condom use, as well as to access treatment, care and support services for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases which they need to get and stay healthy.” says Suzette Moses-Burton, Executive Director of GNP+.

In August, Amnesty International adopted a position to support the decriminalisation of sex work, joining a growing number of organisations supporting decriminalisation alongside GNP+, such as the World Health Organisation, Human Rights Watch and the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women.

[1] http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2014/Sexworkers

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