Resources

The digital transformation of society is an ongoing phenomenon, accelerated by the growing use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the last decade. However, the increased digitalisation of everyday life also poses new threats and challenges for sex workers that need to be addressed. This Community Guide identifies some of the current trends in the use of ICT, exploring good and bad practices, and examines the threats and challenges to sex workers’ safety, privacy, and well-being

The digital transformation of society is an ongoing phenomenon, accelerated by the growing use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the last decade. Sex workers are often among the first adopters of digital technologies to improve their safety while conducting their work in increasingly criminalised and stigmatised contexts and to protect their privacy.

By recognising sex workers as experts and meaningfully involving them in all policies, programmes, discussions, and decisions which affect their lives, allies can play a crucial role advancing sex workers’ human rights and supporting sex worker-led organisations. At the same time, allies can also undermine, invisibilise, and exclude sex workers – whether intended or not – when these principles are not upheld.

The Global Fund has established Codes of Conduct which employees, resource recipients, suppliers, Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) members, and governance officials must uphold while carrying out their work. One of the requirements, which applies to all parties under these codes, is to prohibit ‘sexual exploitation.’ Due to widespread conflations of sex work with ‘sexual exploitation,’ however, there is concern that this provision may be misinterpreted to exclude sex workers.

The right to participation in public and political life is enshrined in international human rights law. Broadly, ‘public life’ refers to the realm in which political processes and activities occur. Participation in public life can be formal or informal, taking place from the grassroots to global levels. Through diverse forms of engagement in public life, sex workers have successfully influenced policies, programmes, practices, and discussions which affect their lives.

Misinformation on sex work has flourished for centuries, fuelled by age-old stereotypes, myths, and moral judgments which continue to shape policies and public opinions. Whether falsehoods are disseminated to deliberately deceive, or are shared unknowingly, the spread of inaccurate and misleading information on sex work has significant consequences.

In most countries, sex workers are subject to exploitative and often unsafe working conditions, and do not benefit from the same labour regulations and protections as other workers.

Community Guides are the result of desk research and a global e-consultation, and aim to provide simple summaries of NSWP’s Smart Guides, further detail and references can be found in the accompanying Smart Guides.

In most countries, sex workers are subject to exploitative and often unsafe working conditions, and don’t benefit from the same labour regulations and protections as other workers. This smart guide sets out how sex work fits within international labour standards, and in particular the Decent Work Agenda. It is intended as a tool for sex workers’ rights organisations to use when campaigning for labour rights as fundamental to sex workers’ rights in their respective countries.

Contents include:

New Zealand is the only country to have decriminalised sex work at a national level, alongside statelevel legislation in New South Wales (NSW) and the Northern Territory (NT) in Australia. This Guide provides an overview those three systems, and the key advocacy actions that were pivotal to achieving law reform, as a tool that sex workers and allies can use to advocate for a rights-affirming approach to sex work. 

This Smart Guide provides an overview of existing sex work legal models and details the processes that have been used to develop legislative models that respect and protect sex workers’ human and labour rights. It aims to provide sex workers’ rights organisations with ideas and strategies that they can adapt to their own legal framework and context, to use in their advocacy and campaigning in their own countries.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) has launched an open consultation on the development of the next Global Fund Strategy. A number of emerging issues in the wider global health environment mean this is a particularly important consultation for sex workers; this is an opportunity to influence the future strategy and ensure that sex workers’ needs are included, and health inequalities addressed.

Theme: Health

This Smart Person’s Guide is a tool to support sex workers and their allies in advocating for the recognition of sex workers’ expertise. Sex workers’ have an indispensable knowledge of, and experience with the structural, legal, institutional, socio-economic and cultural barriers which impede their human and labour rights. Evidence shows that meaningful involvement of sex workers is critical to success in tackling inequality and inequity.

You can download this 30-page Smart Guide above. It is available in English, Russian, Chinese, French, and Spanish. 

2020 is the 25 year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). This Briefing Note outlines the Beijing+25 review process, how sex workers have engaged in this process thus far, and the priorities for inclusion in Beijing+25 actions.

True progress towards gender equality, gender justice and fulfilment of women’s human rights must be inclusive of women in all their diversity, including sex workers. Sex workers face intersecting forms of criminalisation, discrimination and marginalisation, which cannot be addressed in isolation. 

This Briefing Note outlines Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the challenges it presents for sex workers and other criminalised populations. 

Theme: Health

This Briefing Note outlines the problems with the conflation of the term 'sexual exploitation' with sex work, and how this exacerbates harms to sex workers. 

This Briefing Note outlines the key areas within social protection systems that must be addressed in order to meet the needs of sex workers.

In recent years a growing number of international organisations have released policies, guidance and recommendations that promote the rights of sex workers and advocate for the full decriminalisation of sex work. It can be difficult for sex workers and sex workers’ rights activists to maintain an awareness of the many policies and recommendations that now exist.

This Smart Guide aims to provide NSWP members with increased understanding of CEDAW and its potential for use in advocacy work. The Guide is the result of collaboration between NSWP and the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP). 

Download this resource: Smart Guide to CEDAW, NSWP - 2018

This document is a practical tool for organisations to self-assess whether they meaningfully involve sex workers, and for sex worker-led organisations to assess whether they are meaningfully involved.