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Декриминализируйте секс работу – призывают карибские уязвимые группы

At the end of three days of deliberations in Bolan's Village, Antigua, the region's key service providers and researchers in sexual and reproductive rights as well as HIV and AIDS agreed to a common agenda emphasizing the need for a comprehensive package of policies, legal reform and advocacy strategies to address the challenges of HIV in the Caribbean.

"Among the proposals was the recommendation that sex work be treated as work, and that sex workers, including those who are migrants, be treated equitability by the health and related social services," a CVC statement said. Sex workers, in addition to prostitutes, include individuals who perform sexual or sexually oriented activities in the sex industry, like strippers, erotic massage therapists, pornography actors and phone sex operators.

The meeting, which ran from May 6 to 8, was sponsored by the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It was facilitated by global sex work expert, Cheryl Overs, who has worked in sex work policy and programming across many countries around the world.

In addition to decriminalizing sex work, the meeting also agreed that there is need for training to build capacity among sex workers to organise and advocate for their rights.

The objectives of the meeting were to examine the state of HIV and AIDS programming for sex workers in the Caribbean; set the regional agenda regarding sex work policy and programming in relation to HIV and AIDS based on the global trends; and create a network of organisations and key stakeholders such as AIDS programme coordinators, human rights lawyers, researchers and NGOs working with groups vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.

CVC is a three-year-old coalition of civil society groups that work with marginalised populations that are especially vulnerable to HIV and the stigma and discrimination that accompany it. These populations are unable to seek redress because of their social or legal status. These include youth in especially difficult circumstances; substance users; prisoners; orphans or other children made vulnerable by HIV; sex workers; men who have sex with men; and refugees, deportees, or undocumented persons. The main concerns of the coalition are to strengthen prevention programming, increase access to care and treatment for those infected by HIV, and rights-based advocacy through shared learning and breakthrough ideas of how to address the issues that are faced by the populations it serves. CVC-Guyana was represented by participants from Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Guyana Rainbow Association (GUYBOW) and the Network of Guyanese Living with and Affected by HIV-AIDS (G+).

Stabroek News, Guyana

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