To support sex workers and their allies in Kyrgyzstan, sign petition at the following links:
in Englsh: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/jogorku-kenesh-of-the-kyrgyz-republic-government-of-the-kyrgyz-republic-stop-the-criminalization-of-sex-work-in-kyrgyzstan (in Russian petition is available here)
Stop the criminalization of sex work in Kyrgyzstan
Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic
Government of the Kyrgyz Republic
We, the undersigned citizens of Kyrgyzstan – sex workers and allies of sex workers , urge our Jogorku Kenesh and Government to stop the criminalization of sex work through the introduction of an administrative punishment.
In the last 10 years, The Government of Kyrgyzstan has achieved progress on improving the status of woman, including those who are in the worst social conditions, are socially isolated and those towards whom illegal actions are committed more frequently. These achievements also have affected lives of some of us. We urge our Parliament and our Government to continue to further improve the situation of all women, and respect the rights stipulated in the Constitution and in the International Conventions on Human Rights ratified by our country.
Our country ratified the Convention Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and currently is obliged to be committed to implementation of the Convention. Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women of the 42nd session (2008) state the following:
43. The Committee is concerned about reports of discrimination and harassment against women because of their sexuality as well as about acts of harassment against women in prostitution by police officials.
44. 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.
We, sex workers, are suffering from daily violence, extortion, blackmail and persecution by the intolerant-minded part of society and those law enforcement officers who use their authority to violate the law.
Our children are suffering from the fact that they are not permitted to go to schools and kindergartens, because many of us are forced to be in the city without a residence permit, and because our children cannot go to where they are humiliated and insulted.
We support our elderly parents, who cannot survive on the pensions they receive from the state.
If the administrative punishment is introduced, our situation will deteriorate even more:
- People will think that they have the right, backed by law, to persecute us: to rape us, extort money from us, to threaten us or humiliate our human dignity. Stigma, discrimination and aggressive actions of the public will be supported based on the new law.
- Introduction of administrative article leads to increased illegal activities by police
- We will be forced to hide and lose access to means of protection and other support aimed at preventing HIV, STD and TB.
- We will lose the opportunity to seek help and support in organizations and from doctors who now provide us with treatment that helps us and our children to be healthy
- We will not be able to write statements if we get into a situation of violence or any other unlawful act against us
World practices show that criminalization – full or partial – does not improve but rather worsens the situation of sex workers. 10 Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work:
- 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
We urge our Parliament and our Government:
1. Respect our rights: we are citizens of our country, like all other people
2. Stop illegal harassment from law enforcement bodies
3. Stop the introduction of an administrative article to punish sex work