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Sex-worker group in Sweden, Rose Alliance, in the news

Posted By laura agustin On 2 January 2013 @ 10:03 In sex work | 28 Comments

[1]
Rose Alliance in Stockholm Pride Parade

A few weeks ago a flurry of Swedish media articles purported to ‘reveal’ that the national development agency, Sida [2], gives money (3,611,092 euros) to Mama Cash [3], a Dutch foundation that, among many women’s causes, supports sex workers’ rights and has funded Rose Alliance, a sex-worker group in Sweden. This wasn’t even new news, but some anti-prostitution folks tried to whip up indignation and manufacture a scandal.

The first story [4]appeared on a news site hosted by Sida itself on 4 December. The same day, another article repeated the news, with a headline saying the money goes to lobbyists for commercial sex [5]. Still on the same day one of Sweden’s delegates to the European Parliament, and a member of the abolitionist European Women’s Lobby [6]demanded excitedly [7] that Sida stop giving the money (she’s holding up the Say No to Prostitution sign in her photo). The next day saw replies from RFSU [8] (Sweden’s big sex-education organisation) and Louise Persson [9], defending the financing of groups supporting vulnerable women/prostitutes/sex workers. Then there was another piece [10] from the parliamentarian, followed by another [11]on the Sida site. Neither Mama Cash nor Sida made any reply.

At Rose Alliance we decided to write a short statement acknowledging the flurry and, instead of defending or counter-attacking, presenting the basic facts about the organisation on a news site called Newsmill. It got delayed in the pre-Christmas rush and was published 23 December as Vi sexarbetare kan föra vår egen talan [12]. Here is the English version, just as dry and unexcited as the original Swedish.

Sex Workers Can Speak for Ourselves

Annelie Eriksson, Pye Jakobsson and Laura Agustín

Rose Alliance was recently in the news when it was reported at OmVärlden [4] that Sida gives money to a foundation that has given us two grants. Rose Alliance (Riksorganisationen för sex- och erotikarbetare i Sverige) is an organisation for current and former sex workers in Sweden. We began in 2001 but started expanding about three years ago.

The most important things to know about Rose Alliance are:

We promote economic, labour and individual rights for people of any gender identity who sell sex.

  • We recognise that sex workers have a wide variety of experiences and value all of them.
  • We believe in the theory and practice of harm reduction.
  • We assist and advise each other on legal and self-employment issues and dealing with social and police authorities, on a voluntary basis.

Rose Alliance works on health-promotion projects with HIV-Sweden [13] financed by Smittskyddsinstitutet [14], and participated in a project funded by the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci programme [15]. We are members of the European Harm Reduction Network [16], an RFSL-coordinated network on male and trans sex work and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects [17] (these do not involve receiving money). Last week we took part in the World Conference [18] of ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) in Stockholm, and we have had our own float in Stockholm Pride for the past two years (video clips here [19]).

We received our first core funding in 2011, from Mama Cash [3], to strengthen our internal organisation. We now have funding for two more years, which we will use to

Some Rose Alliance members blog and publish articles as individuals: Greta Svammel [23], Petite Jasmine [24], the Naked Anthropologist [25] are examples. Some members receive invitations to visit, speak and consult both inside and outside Sweden. Host organisations reimburse the usual expenses for this travel.

Political lobbying is not our main focus. But for the record, we advocate self-determination and rights for sex workers – the right to sell sex as well as the right to stop selling sex. The law criminalising the purchase of sex aims to deprive sex workers of the right to run their own lives, so we oppose it.

Here’s the original Swedish

Vi sexarbetare kan föra vår egen talan [12]

Annelie Eriksson, Pye Jakobsson och Laura Agustín för Rose Alliance

23 Dec 2012, Newsmill

Rose Alliance var nyligen uppmärksammade i media när det rapporterades på OmVärlden [4] att Sida ger pengar till en stiftelse som har gett oss två verksamhetsbidrag. Riksorganisationen för sex- och erotikarbetare i Sverige (Rose Alliance) är en intresseorganisation för nuvarande och före detta sexarbetare i Sverige. Vi startade 2001 men började växa som organisation för ungefär tre år sedan.

De viktigaste att veta om Rose Alliance är:

  • Vi arbetar för att främja ekonomiska, arbetsrättsliga och individuella rättigheter för alla sexarbetare, oavsett könsidentitet.
  • Vi inser att sexarbetare har en stor variation av erfarenheter och värderar alla lika mycket.
  • Vi tror på skadereduktion, både i teori och praktik.
  • Vi stödjer och rådgör med varandra i juridiska frågor, frågor kring egenföretagande och hur man hanterar kontakt med sociala- och polisiära myndigheter. Allt på en volontär basis.

Rose Alliance arbetar med ett projekt om sexuell hälsa i samarbete med HIV-Sverige [13] finansierat av Smittskyddsinstitutet [14], och deltar i ett projekt finansierat av Europeiska Kommissionens  Leonardo da Vinci programme [15]. Vi är medlemmar i European Harm Reduction Network [16], i ett RFSL Stockholm koordinerat nätverk om manlig och transsexarbete och i Global Network of Sex Work Projects [17] (dessa projekt ger inte organisationen något ekonomiskt bidrag utöver ersättning för eventuella kostnader).

Förra veckan deltog vi i World Conference [26] of ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) i Stockholm, och vi har haft en egen lastbil i Stockholms prideparad under de senaste två åren.

Vi fick vårt första verksamhetsbidrag 2011, från Mama Cash [3], för att stärka vår interna organisation. Vi har sedan juli 2012 verksamhetsbidrag för ytterligare två år, som kommer att användas till att:

Vissa Rose Alliance medlemmar bloggar och publicerar artiklar som individer:Greta Svammel [23]Petite Jasmine [24], the Naked Anthropologist [25] är några exempel. Vissa medlemmar blir inbjudna att besöka, föreläsa och konsultera såväl inom som utanför Sverige. Värdorganisationerna ersätter då kostnader i samband med dessa resor.

Politisk lobbyverksamhet är inte vårt främsta fokus. Men för tydlighetens skull: vi förespråkar självbestämmande och rättigheter för sexarbetare – rätten att sälja sex såväl som rätten att sluta sälja sex. Sexköpslagen bidrar till beröva sexarbetare rätten att styra över sina egna liv, därför är vi emot den.

Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist

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URL to article: http://www.lauraagustin.com/sex-worker-group-in-sweden-rose-alliance-in-the-news

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.lauraagustin.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/RoseAlliancePride.jpg

[2] Sida: http://www.sida.se/Svenska/

[3] Mama Cash: http://mamacash.org/

[4] The first story : http://www.sida.se/OmVarlden/Varlden/Briefing/Lobby-for-sexarbete-far-Sidabidrag/

[5] money goes to lobbyists for commercial sex: http://www.dagensarena.se/innehall/sidamiljoner-till-lobbyister-for-sexhandel/

[6] European Women’s Lobby: http://www.lauraagustin.com/european-womens-lobby-lies-about-sex-trafficking-prostitution-and-sporting-events

[7] demanded excitedly: http://www.dagensarena.se/opinion/stoppa-bistandspengarna-till-mama-cash/

[8] RFSU: http://www.dagensarena.se/opinion/rfsu-viktigt-med-stod-till-varldens-mest-utsatta-kvinnor/

[9] Louise Persson: http://www.newsmill.se/artikel/2012/12/05/l-t-bli-mama-cash-som-hj-lper-prostituerade

[10] another piece: http://www.dagensarena.se/opinion/anna-hedh-s-organisationer-som-mama-cash-ska-inte-gynnas/

[11] another : http://www.sida.se/OmVarlden/Varlden/Briefing/Stodet-till-Mama-Cash-vacker-debatt/

[12] Vi sexarbetare kan föra vår egen talan: http://www.newsmill.se/artikel/2012/12/21/vi-sexarbetare-kan-f-ra-v-r-egen-talan

[13] HIV-Sweden: http://www.hiv-sverige.se/

[14] Smittskyddsinstitutet: http://www.smittskyddsinstitutet.se/

[15] Leonardo da Vinci programme: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/ldv_en.htm

[16] European Harm Reduction Network: http://www.eurohrn.eu/

[17] Global Network of Sex Work Projects: http://www.nswp.org/

[18] World Conference: http://ilga2012.org/conference/

[19] video clips here: http://www.lauraagustin.com/sunday-shock-there-are-proud-sex-workers-in-sweden-but-some-have-known-this-all-along

[20] International AIDS Soc: http://www.iasociety.org/

[21] International Harm Reduction Association: http://www.ihra.net/

[22] our website: http://www.rosealliance.se/

[23] Greta Svammel: http://gretassvammel.blogspot.se/

[24] Petite Jasmine: http://www.njutningtillsalu.com/

[25] Naked Anthropologist: http://www.lauraagustin.com/

[26] World Conference: http://www.lauraagustin.comilga

[27] Image: http://www.addtoany.com/share_save

[28] Ovanlig panel om prostitution i Stockholm: http://www.lauraagustin.com/panelen-pa-nationella-konferensen-om-prostitution-i-stockholm

[29] Sometimes satire is the best revenge: Anti-trafficking news from Norway: http://www.lauraagustin.com/satire-is-the-best-revenge-anti-trafficking-news-from-norway

[30] Women are not children – remember? Flawed ideas about improving Sweden’s sex-purchase law: http://www.lauraagustin.com/women-are-not-children-%e2%80%93-remember-flawed-ideas-about-improving-swedens-sex-purchase-law

Copyright 2008 Laura Agustín. All rights reserved.