Name：Things To Know Before You Go (2002) by Zi Teng
Zi Teng is producing this migrant sex workers’ handbook. We believe that basic legal information on sex industry and immigration, relevant description on the livelihood of the sex sector and basic reference of supportive services provided by NGOs in various countries are essential for women sex workers. The production of this handbook is one of the key recommendations from the Zhuhai conference organized by Zi Teng in early 2000. It is a conglomeration of the contributions of the sex workers and grassroots organizers who participated the conference of “Building an Effective Network in he Service of Migrant Sex Workers in East and South East Asia” that was organized by Zi Teng in June 2001.
The need of building a cross-border supportive network among the sex worker’s self-initiated groups or organizations that work directly with sex workers Asia was clearly articulated in two conference. Publishing a migrant sex workers handbook, with information that contributed by every of the participating countries, is the first practical step towards the building of cross border network. We all agree that despite all kinds of well-wishing or unfriendly policies and mechanisms set up by the governments and aid agencies to protect migrant sex workers’ well-beings, the most needed, the migrant workers themselves, are seldom aware of them since they are either merely paper work, or being written in difficult languages which few have access or ability to understand. As a group/ a larger network of sex workers concern groups and sex worker’s self-initiated groups, we have a sense of urgent need to equip the migrant sex workers with knowledge and power to protect themselves from exploitation, and to provide concrete services and assistance for them.
This handbook contains relevant information that affects migrant sex workers in the receiving countries in Asia. They include prostitution laws, immigration laws, public health control, general kinds of contracts and working condition within the sector, the implication of law-implementation to migrant sex workers and some contacts of local organizations or institutions that would provide help for migrant sex workers. Women may realize the potential risks they might experience in the receiving countries if they work as sex workers, and have general ideas of the industry in the host countries after reading the handbook. We hope this handbook could help those who have decided to migrate or already migrated sex workers to be aware of the legal systems in different countries, so that they can protect themselves from further exploitation and abuse, and increase their bargaining power. The list of organizations is provided, which migrant sex workers could seek assistance or advises from, if the needs occur.
We recognize the fact that specific information (e.g. price of services, addresses and contact numbers of organizations) in handbook is only accurate for a few years. However, we believe that other background information of the legal system and working condition in sex industries in various countries are useful and may service for a much long-term need.
From our very initial stage in preparing this publication in early 2001, we have received many informative documents from sex workers concern groups, scholars and related NGOs in various countries. Special thanks are given to GAATW which agree us to use some of the material in their publication. Also, many helpful comments and suggestions on how to improve this handbook were never cut short since we finished our preliminary edition in September. The feedback of sex workers themselves were especially important in guiding us in finalizing this publicized edition. Without their help and the hard work of many NGOs in collecting the relevant information and giving us feedback, this handbook project is impossible to be completed.
In conclusion, we like to take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt gratitude to Novib for financially supporting us to do this handbook. We hope and believe the readers/ users find it informative, useful and helpful when they consider migrating and working in other countries or areas in Asia.