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.
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.
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 resource is a Community Guide to the Policy Brief on Sex Workers and Travel Restrictions. It provides an overview of the full Policy Brief, and provides key recommendations for policy makers and health service providers.
Sex workers face many barriers to migration and travel, and are often subjected to arbitrary questioning, biased visa refusals and surveillance and discriminatory immigration checks after entering a country. Sex workers’ movement can also be restricted under measures purporting to be ‘anti-trafficking’. Travel restrictions can create a great deal of stress for sex workers, and some sex workers avoid travel altogether because they are afraid of being denied entry, deported or of being identified as a sex worker.
This Briefing Note outlines Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the challenges it presents for sex workers and other criminalised populations.
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.
This resource is a Community Guide to the Policy Brief: The Impact of Anti-trafficking Legislation and Initiatives on Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Policy Brief, and provides key recommendations for policy makers and health service providers.
NSWP submitted a written submission for the CEDAW discussion on the General Recommendation on Trafficking in Women and Girls in the Context of Global Migration as part of the 72nd session, 18th February – 8th March 2019.
Trafficking in persons has generated increasing global attention in recent decades, largely due to the development of international frameworks, pressure from fundamental feminist and abolitionist groups, and as a reaction to increased migration for labour. International policies on trafficking frequently contain vague or ambiguous language, which can cause harm to sex workers in a number of ways.
This resource is a Community Guide to the Policy Brief on the Impact of Stigma and Discrimination on Key Populations and Their Families. It provides an overview of the full Policy Brief, and provides key recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders.
Societal stigma and punitive legal frameworks often severely impede key populations’ rights to raise families free from interference and discrimination. The experiences of key population groups (gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender people) are diverse, and are informed by varying levels of criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, and individual factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, race, and health status. This paper explores these challenges, and provides recommendations for policymakers.
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.
This NSWP Briefing Note provides information about the United States’ recent legislation - The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) -that criminalise online platforms used by sex workers for advertising and information sharing, including for safety purposes. The resource provides details on FOSTA/SESTA and the 'End Banking for Human Traffickers Act', which aims to ‘prevent financial transactions involving the proceeds of severe forms of trafficking'.
A growing number of countries are considering or implementing sex work law reform focusing on ‘ending demand’, which criminalises the purchase of sexual services. This Policy Brief outlines the impact of ‘end demand’ legislation on the human rights of female sex workers, through research and testimony from NSWP members in countries where paying for sex is criminalised. This document explores how these laws not only fail to promote gender equality for women who sell sex, but actively prevent the realisation of their human rights.
This resource is a Community Guide to the Policy Brief on the Impact of Criminalisation on Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to HIV and Violence. This guide summarises how criminalisation increases sex workers’ vulnerability to violence and HIV, and makes a series of recommendations towards the full decriminalisation of sex work as an integral step to improving the lives of sex workers. The full Policy Brief is available here.