Rights Talk and Sex

From the International to the Local in Feminist Legal Responses to Rape, Prostitution/Sex Work and Sex Trafficking: Four Studies in Contemporary Governance Feminism by Hila Shamir

Co-authored with Janet Halley, Prabha Kotiswaran,  Chantal Thomas Feminist advocacy projects on rape and prostitution have, by now, a signiccant track record of achievement in international law. Feminists have scored important advances in international humanitarian law governing rape in armed conflict and have helped to devise international protocols and aid/sanctions schemes governing sex trafficking. We came together in this conversation in order to figure out whether feminist achievements have become sufficiently institutionalized to...

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Criminalising Consensual Sexual Behaviour in the Context of HIV: Consequences, Evidence and Leadership by Aziza Ahmed

Co-authored by Margo Kaplan, Alison Symington, and Eszter Kismodi This paper provides an overview of the use of the criminal law to regulate sexual behaviour in three areas of critical importance: (1) HIV exposure in otherwise consensual sex, (2) sex work and (3) sexual activity largely affecting sexual minorities. It analyses criminal law pertaining to these three distinct areas together, allowing for a more comprehensive and cohesive understanding of criminalisation and its effects. The paper highlights current evidence of how...

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The Value of Critique and Distributive Analysis to Addressing the Needs of Sex Workers in the Context of HIV: A Response to Libby Adler’s “Gay Rights and Lefts” by Aziza Ahmed

In Libby Adler’s article “Gay Rights and Lefts: Rights Critique and Distributive Analysis for Real Law Reform” Adler highlights the need to bring critical tools to bear on legal reform strategies. The Value of Critique

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“We have the right not to be ‘rescued’…”*: When Anti-Trafficking Programmes Undermine the Health and Well-Being of Sex Workers by Aziza Ahmed

This paper highlights the impact of raid, rescue, and rehabilitation schemes on HIV programmes. It uses a case study of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), a sex workers collective in Sangli, India, to explore the impact of anti-trafficking efforts on HIV prevention programmes. The paper begins with an overview of the anti-trafficking movement emerging out of the United States. This U.S. based antitrafficking movement works in partnership with domestic Indian antitrafficking organisations to raid brothels to “rescue and rehabilitate” sex...

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“Sex, sin and Craigslist” by Lisa Kelly

“Sex, sin and Craigslist” with Heidi Matthews, The Globe and Mail (30 December 2010). Link to article here.

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“Why anti-john laws don’t work” by Lisa Kelly

“Why anti-john laws don’t work”  with Katrina Pacey, The Toronto Star (19 October 2011).  Link to article here.

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From the International to the Local in Feminist Legal Responses to Rape, Prostitution/Sex Work, and Sex Trafficking: Four Studies in Contemporary Governance Feminism

Multiple participant contributors: Janet Halley, Prabha Kotiswaran, Hila Shamir, (Chantal Thomas) This Article is the result of an intense series of text and telephone exchanges among the four of us, taking place from December 2005 to April 2006. Each of us has her own project which forms the basis of her contribution to this conversation. Janet Halley is working on new rules governing wartime sexual violence in international humanitarian law, specifically the place of rape and sexual slavery in the decisions of the International Criminal...

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Rescuing Trafficking from Ideological Capture: Prostitution Reform and Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy by Janie Chuang

In the decade since it became a priority on the United States’ national agenda, the issue of human trafficking has spawned enduring controversy. New legal definitions of “trafficking” were codified in international and U.S. law in 2000, but what conduct qualifies as “trafficking” remains hotly contested. Despite shared moral outrage over the plight of trafficked persons, debates over whether trafficking encompasses voluntary prostitution continue to rend the anti-trafficking advocacy community—and are as intractable as debates over...

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Protecting HIV-positive women’s human rights: recommendations for the United States National HIV/AIDS Strategy by Aziza Ahmed with Catherine Hanssens and Brook Kelly

To bring the United States in line with prevailing human rights standards, its National HIV/AIDS Strategy will need to explicitly commit to a human rights framework when developing programmes and policies that serve the unaddressed needs of women. This paper focuses on two aspects of the institutionalized mistreatment of people with HIV: 1) the criminalization of their consensual sexual conduct; and 2) the elimination of informed and documented consensual participation in their diagnosis through reliance on mandatory and opt-out testing...

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HIV and Women: Incongruent Policies, Criminal Consequences by Aziza Ahmed

UN Women must take an aggressive role in the standardization of laws and policies at the global and national level where their incongruence has negative and often criminal consequences for the health and lives of mean and girls. The is article focuses in on thee such examples: opt-out testing for HIV, criminalization of the vertical transmissions, and the new World Health Organization guidelines on breastfeeding. HIV and Women

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