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Khartini Slamah

In this podcast Khartini Slamah from Malaysia talks about attending the human rights conference.

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In a podcast recorded on March 16, 2011, Khartini Slamah discusses their work at the intersection of human rights and advocacy for sex workers within the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers and the Asia Pacific Transgender Network. The conversation, conducted in Wellington Town Hall and hosted by Jim Whitman, extends for 11 minutes, focusing on the diverse experiences of sex workers, particularly in the context of legal and societal challenges that affect their rights and their privacy.

As the founder of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network, Slamah expounds on the organization's commitment to empowering sex workers – including male, female, and transgender individuals – through advocacy and training. Their goal is to enable sex workers to advocate for themselves, striving for equal rights as citizens rather than special treatment. The work centers on advocating for fundamental rights such as access to healthcare, education, housing, and privacy, highlighting the issues of bullying, stigmatization, and discrimination faced by sex workers.

Slamah openly discusses the complex reality of being of Islamic faith and transgender, explaining the layered stigma that comes from both identities. They delve into the additional challenges of advocating for sex workers' rights within Muslim countries and conservative societies, touching on the difficulties in pursuing legalization of sex work, and instead turning towards decriminalization as a more practical approach at present.

The candid conversation also covers the adverse impacts of religious interpretation and how it's often used against the transgender community and sex workers, despite religious teachings ostensibly promoting compassion and non-discrimination. Slamah emphasizes the necessity of holistic approaches, including changes to educational systems, and the importance of family and societal support for individuals who do not conform to traditional gender norms.

Near the end of the podcast, Slamah mentions the session they attended that focused on the rights of the LGBT community, raising the issue of the double legal systems in Malaysia: civil and Sharia law, and the complexities it holds for activists. Despite these legal and societal obstacles, Slamah speaks to the universality of human rights, advocating for sex workers to be accorded the same dignity, support, and access to services as others – highlighting the basic human right to justice, health care, and housing while also tackling issues regarding the organization and expression of rights.

Summarizing the broader context of the struggle, the podcast portrays Slamah's steadfast belief that all individuals, regardless of their profession or identity, deserve to be treated as human beings. They suggest that the pursuit of rights for sex workers isn't seeking special treatment; rather, it's a struggle for recognition, fair treatment, and the basic dignities afforded to others, recognizing sex work as a legitimate profession that provides livelihoods.

The podcast ends noting that while advocating for rights is a challenging endeavor, the resilience of sex workers and activists like Slamah remains unwavering despite the multifaceted challenges they face.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:16th March 2011
Interviewer:Jim Whitman
Location:Wellington Town Hall, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004170).