Tag: Brazil

US Sex Worker representation at AWID

The 2016 forum for the Association of Women in Development will be held in Costa do Sauípe, Bahia, Brazil, September 8 to 11. The forum’s theme is Feminist Futures: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice.

The Best Practices Policy Project is supporting two sessions. The first will extend our human rights work on the Universal Screenshot 2016-08-31 03.05.21Periodic Review (UPR) beyond our borders to inspire similar campaigns by sex workers and allies in Brazil.  The session “Working the Universal Periodic Review: Advocating at the United Nations for sex worker and trans rights” will describe how community groups can engage with the Universal Periodic Review and how this process allows the issues central to the rights of sex workers and transgender people to attention globally and to bring change in country. This is a vital training giving the forthcoming UPR of Brazil in 2017 (shadow reports are due in February 2017 to the Human Rights Council). This session will take place at Ala Mar – Vera Cruz 1-2  on September 9th, at 4.30 pm. Speakers include Penelope Saunders, Monica Jones, Laura Murray and Brazilian colleagues.

We are also proud to support “Not Your Rescue Project: film and performance from the sex worker rights revolution-our reality, visions and collective power.” The purpose of this session is to use community materials, film, performance and presentations celebrating the activism of sex workers to engage in lively discussion with a diverse audience. The session will be introduced by PJ Starr with a special guest appearance by The Incredible, Edible Akynos and Brazilian colleagues. Session will take place at Ala Terra – Sao Tome 1-2  on September 10 at 2.30 pm.

In addition to these sessions Monica Jones has been invited to participate in the Black Feminist pre-conference, Penelope Saunders will visit Rio to work on a collaborative project with Brazil’s Prostitution Policy Watch and Brazilian sex worker groups, and Akynos will present a burlesque workshop in Rio on September 3rd.


Gabriela Leite: Era uma mulher! Era uma puta! Era uma puta mulher! Pura vida! Da vida!

Gabriela Leite, the founder of the movement for sex worker rights in Brazil, died yesterday October 10, 2013. She was instrumental in struggles for prostitution to be recognized as a profession in Brazil, she showed us how HIV/AIDS work could be done to defend the rights and citizenship of sex workers, and she challenged US restrictions on global HIV/AIDS funding that discriminate against sex workers. She was a well-known and renowned public figure who did not shy away from having been a sex worker. In fact she ran for federal office on a platform for the rights of prostitutes, gays, and access to abortion.

Tributes to her life are planned for October 12, 2013 in the Catumbi Cemetery Chapel, Rio de Janeiro with the funeral at 8.30 am and burial at 9.30 am. Friends and family organizing these events write that, “Gabriela Leite inaugurated a new way of being and doing politics… Gabriela was magnetic, unforgettable, charismatic, charming, elegant, fragrant, showy, libertarian, fearless, bold, stylish, friendly, generous, combative, cheerful, a warrior, a gift, unique, a partner, an advisor, persistent,  inspiring … a muse!”

Era uma mulher! Era uma puta! Era uma puta mulher! Pura vida! Da vida!



Supporting Brazilian sex workers

Sex workers in Brazil are challenging the Brazilian government’s decision in early June 2013 to first veto and then drastically alter an HIV prevention campaign that had been developed by the Department of STD/AIDS/Ministry of Health in partnership with sex workers earlier this year. After abruptly ordering the rights based materials to be taken offline the government relaunched the campaign with sanitized and adulterated materials several days later. The government  removed slogans about rights, citizenship, and positive affirmations of the profession from all campaign materials replacing them with fear based messages such as, “AIDS still has no cure.”

Sex workers in Brazil have released statements critisizing the government’s actions both as separate NGOs and in a powerful joint statement from the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes. Davida’s newspaper, Beijo da Rua, has reported that the sex workers that appeared in the campaign are sending cease and desist letters to the Ministry of Health revoking their releases for using their images and demanding the immediate suspension of the campaign materials in which they appear. The Ministry has now taken the campaign offline, and the fight continues to request that the Minister be forced to resign, and demand that prostitutes’ voices be heard and respected.

International pressure is incredibly important and effective in swaying political decisions. Activists and allies around the world can help support Brazilian sex workers actions:

Equal rights for all professions!

Equal rights for all professions!