Dear colleagues, partners and friends,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan has initiated new draft bill to introduce an administrative offence for sex work. The official website of Parliament has posted text of the new amendment of article of the Administrative Code for an offence of “engaging in prostitution”. The supporting document states “Overall, the draft bill “on the amendments to the Administrative Code is consistent with the law of Kyrgyz Republic and will not have any possible social, economic, legal, human rights, technical, ecological and corruption consequences”. Moreover, the news reports quote the supporting document that draft bill is linking sex work to organized crime, spread of infectious diseases, including HIV, and also linking to the substance and drug use.
Enforcing an administrative offence will seriously worsen already existing uneasy situation of human rights of sex workers in our country. Besides, HIV prevention, treatment and care programs will face challenges in providing preventative services and outreaching to people as sex workers would have to hide.
Moreover, in near future we would face regression of all achievements that Kyrgyzstan had achieved in the last 10 years. According to the last UNGASS report HIV prevalence among sex workers was 3,5% and did not exceed 5% threshold. Until 2010 the HIV prevalence among sex workers was 2 %. The significant increase of HIV in the last 2 years is related to rise of the repressions against sex workers by the law enforcement agencies. In case of adoption of this draft bill, this growth in HIV prevalence will continue.
Adoption of this administration offence article will reinforce illegal activities of law enforcement agencies as stigma and discrimination, societal aggression will practically be legalized. Our country is obliged to implement its women’s human rights commitments according to the recommendations within CEDAW framework. In particular, 42nd CEDAW sessions’ concluding observations to Kyrgyzstan in 2008 state “the Committee is concerned about reports of discrimination and harassment against women in prostitution by police officials”. Therefore “the Committee urges the State party to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the Convention applies to all women without discrimination and to further take all necessary steps to protect them from all forms of discrimination and violence by public and private individuals”.
World practices show that criminalization – full or partial – does not improve but rather worsens situation.
10 Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work prepared Open Society Institute:
- Decriminalization reflects respect for human rights and personal dignity
- Decriminalization reduces police abuse and violence
- Decriminalization increases sex workers’ access to justice
- Decriminalization promotes safe working conditions.
- Decriminalization increases access to health services
- Decriminalization reduces sex workers’ risk of HIV
- Decriminalization challenges stigma and discrimination and the consequences of having a criminal record
- Decriminalization does not result in an increase in the population of sex workers
- Decriminalization facilitates effective responses to trafficking
- Decriminalization challenges state control over bodies and sexuality
If sex work is criminalized, it means that human rights would be further and more violated, and access to necessary support and guarantees of the state would be challenged or become non-existent. Also it would also expose that our state would de facto legalize human rights abuse while declaring its commitment to human rights as number of hate crimes would go up.
Tais Plus calls all our friends and allies to support our Campaign to stop criminalization of sex work through administrative offence draft bill.
We are grateful for any support, articulation of our position at all the events and activities your organizations are holding with decision makers, for any information and resources that could make our Campaign more effective.
Tais Plus team