Resources

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NSWP statement strongly condemning the recent report released by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security for failing to recognise the grave violations to Norwegian sex workers’ human rights that are taking place with state impunity under the current model that bans the purchase of sex. NSWP urges the Norwegian Government to listen to the experiences of sex workers and acknowledge that the criminalisation of the purchase of sex in Norway is resulting in health and human rights violations of sex workers.

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This briefing paper describes the different legislative frameworks used to criminalise and oppress sex work and sex workers, including oppressive regulatory frameworks. It also provides insight into the language and shared principles that NSWP members use when advocating for law reforms that respect and protect sex workers’ human and labour rights.

In December 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided that several parts of Canada’s Criminal Code dealing with prostitution are unconstitutional because they violate the rights of sex workers by undermining their health and safety. The Supreme Court decided that its ruling would take effect in one year’s time, at which point those unconstitutional parts of the law would no longer be in force.

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On June 4th, 2014 Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. The draft legislation proposes a legal frameworkthat criminalises communication in public for the purpose of prostitution, the purchase ofsexual services, material benefit, and the advertisement of sexual services.

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On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a landmark decision that substantially reshaped Canada’s legal framework regarding adult sex work. The case of Bedford v. Canada resulted in the striking down of three provisions of the Criminal Code: the communication, bawdy-house and living on the avails laws. The Court found that these three provisions violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) given their negative impact on sex workers’ security of the person.

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This resource is a note by NSWP members Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP) and SANGRAM. It summarizes the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women in India with regards to her observations made in relation to sex worker rights in India. It highlights that the Special Rapporteur called on the Indian Government to review the problematic ITPA (Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act) legislation which criminalizes women in sex work and to take measures to protect the human rights of sex workers.

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The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) have released a statement strongly condemning the recent EU Parliament vote on the flawed report prepared by MEP Mary Honeyball.

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The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) has spearheaded a campaign to critically review the draft report by MEP Mary Honeyball which proposes the criminalisation of clients based on factually incorrect and misleading information. Ninety-four academics have signed this letter of critique.

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NSWP statement in response to the decision by The European Parliament Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee's to support proposals to criminalise the clients of sex workers.

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This NSWP Statement responds to attempts to criminalise the purchase of sex in France. We condemn these proposals which are ideologically driven rather than evidence-based, and incorrectly view sex work through the prism of ‘violence against women’ whilst also irresponsibly conflating trafficking with sex work.

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This resource builds on INCITE's substantial background in issues faced by women of colour, criminalised or street-based communities, and queer and trans youth, particularly around police and state violence. It focuses on how "police violence against sex workers is not perceived by mainstream organisations as either police brutality, or violence against women, when it is clearly a manifestation of both".

You can download this 4 page PDF resource above. this resource is in English.

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This  resource looks at the Canadian legal system and hierarchy of laws from the perspective of launching a court case to protect the rights of sex workers. It discusses the Canadian law and sex workers' rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, limits to the Charter, and how to challenge unconstitutional laws.

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This concise, Canadian resource looks at why we need prostitution law reform, what the decriminalisation of sex work is, how decriminalisation happens, decriminalisation through the court system, and how to support sex workers in law reform. It notes, "decriminalisation alone cannot overcome all of the other injustices that many of us face, but it is a necessary step to protecting and respecting sex workers' rights".

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This resource offers a succinct introduction to the Bedford v. Canada Supreme Court case. Bedford v. Canada challenges three anti-sex work laws in Canada which prevent sex workers from engaging in safety measures that would make their work safer. The appellants in the care are challenging the constitutionality of the communicating, brothel keeping, and living off the avails provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada. They say these laws violate their right to Life, Liberty, and Security of the Person as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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The article examines how language helps the construction of fictive kinships networks (family-like structures among marginalized populations) amongst Southwestern U.S. street-level sex workers. These networks establish ties and obligations - as well as power structures - between members of the community.

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This reference text seeks to "clarify terms and illustrate examples of alternatives to the use of criminal law as a response to sex work". It provides capsule definitions - with small case-studies or examples - of what a variety of laws and policies look like in terms of their impact on sex work, covering criminalisation, legalisation, and decriminalisation, along with a mini-discussion of other laws that are used against sex workers, such as the criminalisation of HIV transmission, or immigration enforcement.

Published as part of Research for Sex Work 13: HIV and Sex Work – The view from 2012.

You can download this 3 page PDF article above.  This article is in English & Chinese.

Theme: Health

This briefing from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network considers the impact of the "Swedish" or "Nordic" model on sex workers.  Examining its harmful effects, this paper argues that this approach would not withstand constitutional scrutiny in Canada.

The briefing also makes recommendations to the Canadian Parliament as follows:

  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to communicate in a public place for the purposes of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the bawdy-house sections of the Criminal Code
  • Parliament should repeal the subsections of the procuring sections of the Criminal Code that relate to bawdy-houses
  • Parliament should repeal the section of the Criminal Code that makes it an offence to live on the avails of prostitution
  • Parliament should repeal the reverse-onus subsection of the Criminal Code as it applies to living on the avails of prostitution

For full details you can download this useful 6 page PDF document above.  This resource is in English.

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The National Network of Sex Workers in India have appealed to the President of India to reject the 'Ordinance on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012' which was cleared by the cabinet on 1st February. 

A proposed section in this bill conflates trafficking with sex work and essentially defines all 'prostitution' as exploitation, further eroding the dignity of voluntary and consenting sex workers, against the internationally recognised interpretation of the UN Protocol, 2000.  If accepted this bill will criminalise sex workers.

You can read the 2 page (PDF) press release (in English) as published on SANGRAM's website above.

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