An international press conference was held at the 3rd International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Bangkok by regional sex work representatives who announced the need for a regional sex worker organisation to represent issues affecting sex workers.
Following a session at ICAAP specifically dedicated to “Creating/ Strengthening an Asia Pacific network for commercial sex workers and support groups”, sex worker representatives from over 20 countries in the region agreed upon progressing a regional sex worker organisation, and several core issues for the organisation to focus on prioritising.
These issues, which were presented at a press conference by representatives from sex worker groups from across the region, including Thailand (Empower Foundation), Australia (Scarlet Alliance), New Zealand (New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective) and Malaysia (Pink Triangle Foundation), stated that the new regional sex worker network aimed to:
- strengthen sex worker involvement in all aspects of society;
- to identify common areas within society to empower sex workers, with the aim of sex work being recognised as legitimate work;
- that HIV prevention must be integrated into programs which support fair and safe living and working conditions;
- the involvement of sex workers is included in policy making at all levels, including within sex worker support groups and government.