US government travel restrictions for sex workers and drug users mean that many of us will not be able, or will not want to go to the IAC in Washington this year.
After long negotiations with IAS, members of the IAC 2012 Conference Coordinating Committee and donors, NSWP is now able to announce its alternative event which will be hosted by DMSC (and the India network of sex workers) in Kolkata, India. Different Avenues and the US sex workers rights movement is also continuing to mobilise and organise for the IAC in Washington to welcome those who choose to go to Washington if they can.
The Deputy Executive Director of IAS has this week given assurances to NSWP that sex workers from outside the US who submit abstracts for IAC 2012 will be able to choose between attending the IAC in Washington or coming to the NSWP satellite hub in Kolkata rather than risk trying to enter the US – and if their scholarship application is successful that they can use it to come to Kolkata.
So we would encourage all of you to submit abstracts, global village activities and scholarship applications if you have not already done so – the deadline for WEDNESDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2012.
There will be a separate proposal and scholarship process for the Kolkata hub programme – details will be announced in March 2012.
TRAVEL WARNING: The US government restricts entry to anyone who has engaged in prostitution in the last 10 years, or anyone who has made financial profit from prostitution. No criminal conviction is required as prostitution in defined as ‘moral turpitude’ and the restriction applies to sex workers from countries where prostitution is legal.
You can apply for a visa waiver and declare you are a sex worker (and/or a drug user) but there is no guarantee that you will be granted a visa waiver. The visa waiver process can take up to 90 days and this means that you will need to have registered for the conference and have confirmation of your flight, accommodation and your ability to support yourself while in the US. If you are refused a visa waiver then this will be documented and may cause difficulties for future international travel as governments share information about international travellers.
If you apply for a visa without declaring your sex work history then you may be
• refused a visa
• refused boarding at the airport of departure – even if you have a visa
• refused entry by the US Immigration officer upon arrival – even if you have a visa.
If you are refused a visa or refused entry to the US then that information is documented and will cause significant difficulties for future international travel as governments share information about international travellers and you have to declare it on future visa applications to many countries.