HRC 56: NSWP statement to the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls

Published on June 24, 2024

Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women

Global Network of Sex Work Projects

 

My name is Phelister Abdalla. I am a sex worker from Kenya. I have been living with HIV for the last 17 years. I am a mother of four and a sex worker by choice.

The report denies my work and undermines my agency and autonomy. It reduces my work to violence and abuse, and ignores the consensual negotiations in my work. While violence can occur within sex work, evidence shows that it is caused by criminalization, stigma and discrimination.

The report denies our identity as sex workers, using instead the offensive terminology of “prostitute”. Sex work is a term coined by Carol Leigh which positions our work from a labor framework. It is a gender-inclusive, non-judgmental term that encompasses the various services that constitute sex work globally.

As a mother, I am offended by the report’s assertion that sex workers are bad mothers and our children are a result of violence who will end up getting stolen, trafficked, raped and killed. As a sex worker and a parent, I work really hard to ensure that the needs of my children are met.

I have chosen sex work to be my profession, but this is not my whole reality. Before I am a sex worker, I am many things. My rights should not be denied because of my job.