Montego Bay Declaration

The Caribbean Sex Worker Coalition, a regional collective of sex worker-led civil society organizations and sex worker advocates, at our annual meeting in Montego Bay, held between 28-30 August 2013,

 

Recognize that:

  1. Sex work is work and must be recognized and treated as such en par with other professions where labour conditions are just;
  2. Selling sex should not be a crime;
  3. There are practices and policies that harm sex workers;
  4. We have the same human rights and duties as all other people, and these should be respected at all times;
  5. We value ourselves like everyone else in society, with equal rights and justice;
  6. Our civil rights are being undermined, we are being victimized and living with abuse from the people who are supposed to help us;
  7. We have a right to equal opportunity to work, to healthcare, to education, and to food and shelter, and retirement benefits;
  8. We respect sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and gender equality as human rights;
  9. We value our family and children;
  10. We should be able to access effective social services without any fear, favour or compromise;
  11. Violence, extortion, discrimination are meted out to sex workers regularly;
  12. We are subjected to arbitrary law, detention, police raiding and injustice;
  13. We have a voice to be heard; all programs, documentation, and representation on behalf of regional sex workers should not be done without representation from the Caribbean Sex Work Coalition or member groups;
  14. Gender, age, social disparities and inequalities affect sub-populations of sex work in more severe ways than others;
  15. Economic empowerment[1]is important for sex workers stability;
  16. The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition must be led by sex workers;

 

Demand that Caribbean States:

END all discriminatory legal, social and religious practices that target sex workers, their families, partners, colleagues, clients and anyone associated;

RESPECT and PROTECT human and constitutional rights and create legislation, policies and practices which effectively protect these human rights; 

RESPECT our right to livelihood and freedom to work;

RESPECT our right to freedom of movement and migration;

PROVIDE non-discriminatory health and social services and:

  • ENSURE the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Program, and other agencies recognize the different sub-populations of sex workers and design programs that respond to their needs. 
  • PARTNER with and train health care workers to effectively provide services for sex workers, including unconventional health services, such as mobile clinics.
  • ENSURE that sex workers are not subjected to compulsory HIV testing by employers.

 

GUARANTEE sex worker access to justice, including access to law enforcement officers and police services that are free of stigma and discrimination;

RECOGNIZE transgender people and create laws which protect them from stigma and discrimination, violence and hate crimes.  ENSURE transgender people can choose to have identity cards and other documentation which reflects their gender identity and expression;

STOP conflating trafficking in persons with sex work.



[1]‘Economic empowerment’ is defined by the Global Network of Sex Workers Projects as, “ increasing equal access to work options, education, access to banking services and credit so that sex workers can develop their own economic security and social status and be respected members of families and communities.”