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CW’s 16 days of activism 2015: End violence against sex workers

Released date: 25-Nov-2015

November 25th 2015.The Annual 16 Days of Activism Campaign is a global opportunity to galvanize action to end all forms of violence against women and girls. This year The International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) is taking action to raise awareness about disproportionate burden of violence experienced by women who do sex work. The ICW global network has many members who are both women living with HIV and who do sex work, we stand in solidarity with networks of sex workers around the world to end violence.

The 16 day campaign begins on November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and creates a critical back drop for World AIDS Day on December 1st until the 16 days of activism culminates on International Human Rights Day held on December 10th. ICW seeks to raise awareness about the multiple and intersectional forms of violence experienced by women living with HIV and those who do sex work.

Women who do sex work are at risk of multiple forms of violence including physical, sexual, emotional abuse, as well as discrimination and human rights violations such as humiliating, degrading treatment, denial of services and arbitrary detention and other forms of institutional violence. Violence also prevents sex workers from accessing HIV information and services and from realizing their SRHR. For women at the intersections of these identities, those who are both living with HIV and who do sex work the vulnerability to and the burden of violence is doubled. Gender-based violence is a driver of the HIV epidemic amongst women, including those who are sex workers. For this reason, HIV must be understood as both a cause and consequence of violence.

Criminalization of sex work including the criminalization of sex workers, third parties, sex workers’ clients, families, partners and friends, has a detrimental effect on the lives and health of sex workers. This is particularly true for sex workers living with HIV, in light of the intersections with laws that criminalize HIV non-disclosure, exposure, and transmission. As noted in a recent Lancet study on sex work and HIV, decriminalization of sex work could avert HIV infections by 33-46% in the next decade.

ICW recognizes and advocates for decriminalization of sex work as an important measure for protecting the human rights of sex workers and as an address to the violence that sex workers, especially those living with HIV, face around the world. Importantly, ICW recognizes that decriminalization is a key strategy to reduce the HIV epidemic and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV who engage in sex work.

All women living with HIV, including sex workers must be free from violence, coercion, stigma and discrimination. ICW demands an end to all forms of violence against women, and recognition of how violence against women and other forms of gender based violence impact the health and lives of women living with HIV.

ICW demands freedom from violence for all marginalized and vulnerable populations within communities living with HIV, including sex workers.

Violence against women must be accounted for and addressed in all efforts to respond to HIV.

JOIN US IN RAISING OUR VOICES IN SOLIDARITY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST SEX WORKERS AND WOMEN LIVING WITH HIV.

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