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Registered activity

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Title of activity

Sex Worker Criminalisation in Cambodia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand

Registering Organizer

National Network of Sex Workers, India (NNSW) and Sex Workers and Allies South Asia (SWASA)

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Hindi, English, Sinhala, Tamil

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Summary of activity

For decades sex workers in the region have been demanding decriminalization as a vital step towards ending stigma, exploitation and violence by State and non-State actors. This call has been increasingly supported by human rights organizations and UN agencies. However governments have largely turned a deaf ear or have even introduced new laws and instruments that further criminalize sex work, cause harm and block access to justice.

As the pandemic rages on, state criminalization only adds to harm, by making it difficult for communities to access resources, each other and their livelihood.


This panel seeks to add to the dialogue in the Asia Pacific region among organizations and collectives in Cambodia, India, Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lankan to discuss experiences, map out where we have reached and the way forward.


Please register to join the meeting.

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Description of activity

Panel Members:

Mai Janta, Empower Thailand

Ly Vina, Women’s Network for Unity, Cambodia

Bhawana Tamang, Hamro Sangathan, Nepal

Ayeesha Rai, Sex Workers and Allies South Asia (SWASA), India

Nirosha Dilrukshi Fernando, Stand Up Movement Lanka


Descriptions of organisations involved:


Empower, founded in 1985 is a sex worker organization promoting rights and opportunities for sex workers in Thailand. Empower is a movement led and managed by sex workers.


The Women's Network for Unity is a sex worker organization in Cambodia which was established in 2000 and currently has about 6,400 members. It works against the stigmatization of sex work and lobbies for legal and human rights of sex workers and for safer working conditions.


Hamro Sangathan is a street based sex workers led organization located at Kathmandu district. They do the advocacy for street based sex workers. They have been able to do advocacy with the coloboration with National network of sex workers and active 15 members. This organization is not registered and actively works with SWASA Nepal since 2018 and they are also known as Ratnapark. It group (Street based sex workers). The CBO has around 110 FSW members and most of the member have the strength to open up their identity as Sex Workers.


Sex Workers and Allies South Asia (SWASA) is a collaborative effort between sex workers and supportive activists and organisations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The initiative aligns itself to the LGBTQI and women’s rights movements and other struggles of the marginalized and draws attention to violations of sex workers' rights in the region.


Stand Up Movement Lanka promotes rights and entitlements of workers of Economic Processing Zones (EPZs), migrant workers and commercial sex workers.

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