Last month, Zung Che from the Taiwanese grantee group Collective of Sex Workers And Supporters (COSWAS) visited the Global Fund’s offices. COSWAS is a dynamic coalition of women’s groups working to protect and promote the rights of sex workers in Taiwan, and to press for the decriminalization of their work.
Every year, the capital city of Taipei continues to draw thousands of migrant sex workers from China, Vietnam and south-east Asian countries. Zung shared his insights on the challenges of organizing sex workers in current Taiwanese society where the challenges of economic liberalization are an increasing reality and are additionally disempowering marginalized communities like sex workers, who are additionally exploited since sex work was criminalized in 1997.
COSWAS’ coalitions and activities provide a strong labor rights framework to organize and fight for the rights of sex workers. It is also one of the few groups in the country also including LGBTIQ rights in their organizing framework.While on a conference here in the US, Zung, a translator with COSWAS, was also was engaged in discussions with community activists and organizations working on Proposition K in San Francisco, a measure on the election ballot that seeks to decriminalize sex work.