AFRO e-News (2020.09)

AFRO e-News (2020.09)

Sep 09, 2020

AFRO Broadcasting Station: AFRO Centre Reopened

As the pandemic temporarily eases, the AFRO Centre has reopened on 1 September. Services will gradually be resumed.

To ensure health and safety of all service users and the staff team and to reduce the risk of infection, at this stage the Centre accepts only one visitor at a time. Fellow sisters must make an appointment in advance, and wear suitable masks, undergo temperature checks and fill out health declaration forms when visiting the Centre.

As a temporary measure, a few additional sessions for HIV and STI checkups will be arranged, so that fellow sisters can keep their routine checkups.

However, there are still many cases with unknown sources of infection. We all should stay cautious. Remember to wear a face mask properly, wash hands frequently, and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.

If you have any questions, please call our 24-hour hotline 27701002.

AFRO Broadcasting Station: Beware of Unsolicited Packages

Affected by the COVID-19, the supply of illegal drugs has drastically dropped.

Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department found that this year there had been changes in the strategies of drug trafficking organisations. Courier services have been more commonly used for drug trafficking, while drug trafficking methods have become even more "creative". For example, dolls, instant noodle packaging, etc. are used as smuggling methods.

The drug traffickers may, through a friend, ask you to help collect a package, promise that he/she will give you certain amount of remuneration, and then ask someone else to collect the package from you. And you, since the beginning and until the very end, have no ideas about what is inside the package, even that there may be illegal drugs or other illegal items.

AFRO would like to remind all fellow sisters not to help others receive any packages sent by mail or courier service, and not to accept any unsolicited package even if it’s for free, so as to avoid accidentally breaking the law.

* Any person who traffics in a dangerous drug shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of HK$5,000,000 and imprisonment for life. [Trafficking includes selling or giving away any amount of a dangerous drug]

* Any person who has in his possession; or smokes, inhales, ingest or injects a dangerous drug, shall be liable upon conviction to a fine HK$ 1,000,000 and imprisonment for 7 years.

https://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/04_crime_matters/adcc/ **

AFRO Broadcasting Station: Watch Out for Phone Scams!

Old tricks still work!

The number of phone scams in Hong Kong has been high. According to the Police Force, 532 digital scams were recorded in the first five months of this year, with an increase of about 1.6 times compared with the figure (207) for the same time period last year, and the loss amounted to as high as HK$185 million. The police indicated that in order to put pressure on the victim, the scammers would wear uniforms and presented forged documents during video calls and threaten the victims to check in regularly via communication software/apps. Some victims even became scammers after being deceived, pretending to be "special agents" from the Mainland China, pay home visits to elderly, deceive them, and attempt to take away their life savings. Scammers also attempted to make use of the government's Cash Payout Scheme (HK$10,000) to commit fraud. The police claimed that a citizen had received a fake bank call, falsely claiming that there was something wrong with the application and asking the other party to submit ID card number and bank account information.

Scammers always come up with creative scams. When panicked and unprepared, the victim may fail to verify and eventually be deceived.

AFRO would like to remind fellow sisters that bank staff will never take the initiative to ask for personal information of customers. If you have any doubts, you should check with banks and relevant agencies. If you receive any call, e-mail or message that requests personal information or involve money requests, please do not disclose your personal data or financial status over the phone or click any link in the e-mail or message. In this case, it is advisable to calm down, stay vigilant, and seek verification from the relevant agencies to avoid theft of personal data or financial loss.

AFRO's News Reading

FKA Twigs Launches GoFundMe for Sex Worker Mutual Aid

(Rolling Stone, 2020.08.05)

FKA Twigs has created a GoFundMe for sex workers facing an income loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. The singer and performer launched the fundraiser in partnership with several sex worker-led organizations, including Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) ), Lysistrata and East London Strippers Collective. FKA Twigs kicked the GoFundMe off on Tuesday afternoon with her own donation of £10,000 (roughly equal to $13,000), and since then it has raised an additional £4,839, making it about halfway toward its £30,000 goal... Read more

AFRO's Comments:

It is very encouraging to hear that FKA Twigs openly draws public attention and gives hand to sex workers. Sex workers have long been marginalised and not recognised as labour. In many societies, they are not entitled to labour welfare and have no access to the governments’ COVID-19 relief programmes. FKA Twigs’ public fundraising does not only give direct assistance to sex workers, but also brings sex workers’ struggles to light.

Like FKA Twigs said in her Instagram post, there's a bigger journey in challenging public attitudes, tackling stigma, and fighting for rights and protections. But today you can help with cash donation to SWARM, Lysistrata and East London Strippers Collective, or any sex workers' support groups in your own cities.

We hope that, not before too long, sex workers will be treated like any other labourers and no longer be excluded by any social security benefits.