1994 – Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) formed

Conference delegates from the Asia and Pacific at the 1994 International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Yokohama, Japan, were supported by the Global Network of Sex Worker’s Projects (NSWP) to facilitate a meeting to explore the practicalities of founding a regional network.

Group photograph of participants in a meeting at IAC 1994.
Group photo taken at IAC Japan in 1994 where participants agreed to develop an Asia Pacific network.

The meeting explored the fundamentals principles of what the emerging organisation should represent, including identifying regional issues of significance to sex workers and how the organisation should progress self-organising. The group developed a list of demands in relation to sex worker issues and agreed to continue to progress the foundations of a regional network which would advocate internationally, in a more structured way, on issues affecting all sex workers across the region.

APNSW aims to facilitate sex worker participation and information sharing on both technical and policy issues, encourage leadership amongst male, female and transgender sex workers and engage in direct advocacy.

Some of the first organizations in Asia Pacific to work on health and human rights with sex workers attended, including: Empower Thailand, Sweetly Japan, Pink Triangle Malaysia, the Scarlet Alliance Australia and Sonagachi (India).