Resources

This paper discusses policies and programmes affecting sex workers that limit their economic empowerment. It aims to frame sex work in terms of labour migration, economics and empowering labour environments, rather than in terms of power, disease and immorality. A summary of this paper is also available.

In Southeast Asia, APNSW observed that sex workers frequently move to faraway lands to find more lucrative work and economic enhancement, but are greatly constrained by anti-trafficking policies framed by a belief that no woman will move willingly to work in sex work. Anti-trafficking laws are often used to limit free movement of women in sex work by raiding and ‘rescuing’ them. Though this is ostensibly done to help them escape traffickers, it is mainly used to ‘correct’ their behaviour.

The information in this report summarises the findings of five briefing papers on sex workers’ access to HIV treatment in five regions: Africa; Asia Pacific; Europe; Latin America; and North America and the Caribbean. Research was carried out by regional consultants through online surveys and meetings with sex worker-led organisations and individuals, to identify the multiple barriers to ensuring access to appropriate health care for those living with HIV.

Sex workers constitute a key population affected by HIV, with multiple factors contributing to their vulnerability. Around the world, HIV programming falls short of taking these factors into account and actively working towards their reduction. Sex workers are put at risk of exposure to HIV by criminalisation; violence; unsafe working conditions; violations of their human rights; stigma, discrimination and social marginalisation; drug and alcohol use; unequal access to appropriate health services; minimal access to HIV prevention tools (such as safe sex supplies and safer injecting equipment); barriers to negotiation of safe sex with clients; offers of higher fees for unprotected sex; and an absence of HIV-related information targeted at sex workers, due to insufficient funding for rights-based and sex worker led programming.  This Briefing Paper discusses these in detail.

HIV prevention efforts are being scaled up globally, to target sex workers as a key population in the HIV response. The voices and experiences of sex workers living with HIV are too often rendered invisible. This means that the additional needs and rights of sex workers living with HIV are often overlooked in forums that support the rights of general populations of people living with HIV. This paper sets out the demands of positive sex workers articulated by sex workers themselves. NSWP committed to address this invisibility as an annual priority in 2012. Accordingly, initial consultation was carried out during the Sex Worker Freedom Festival (SWFF). The SWFF was a Alternative IAC2012 event for sex workers and allies in Kolkata, India, and was sustained throughout the year through face-to-face meetings, Skype conversations, and continued communication through setting up and maintaining a global advisory group of sex workers living with HIV, eventually launching the NSWP+ platform

Theme: Health

One of the initial advocacy priorities identified by NSWP+ (a platform for positive sex workers and others committed to equal rights for sex workers living with HIV) was treatment access and joining the campaign against trade related restrictions and patents used by large pharmaceutical companies to make huge profits from essential medicines. Sex workers identified the need for accessible information on the trade frameworks that impact upon access to medicines for people living with HIV.

This is a summary of the New Prevention Technologies and their Implications for Sex Workers briefing paper. It provides an overview of the new HIV prevention tools on the horizon, including microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), vaccines, and ‘treatment for prevention’. It details the possible positive and negative impacts of these as identified by sex worker organisations. Finally, it explores how sex workers’ advocacy can influence the development and introduction of these tools in ways that maximise usefulness and minimise risk to sex workers.  

Theme: Health

This NSWP briefing paper provides an overview of the new HIV prevention tools on the horizon, including microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), vaccines, and ‘treatment for prevention’. It details the possible positive and negative impacts of these as identified by sex worker organisations. Finally, it explores how sex workers’ advocacy can influence the development and introduction of these tools in ways that maximise usefulness and minimise risk to sex workers. A summary  is also available.

Theme: Health

This is a summary of the Sex Work is Not Trafficking briefing paper. It explains how sex work is conflated with trafficking; the legal framework; how demand for sex work is conflated with trafficking; the dangers of conflating trafficking with sex work, its impacts on sex workers’ lives and work; the impact on sex worker programming; and offers some recommendations for policy makers, donors and for civil society. 

This briefing paper explains how sex work is conflated with trafficking; the legal framework; how demand for sex work is conflated with trafficking; the dangers of conflating trafficking with sex work, its impacts on sex workers’ lives and work; the impact on sex worker programming; and offers some recommendations for policy makers, donors and for civil society. A summary is also available.

This is a summary of the Criminalisation of Clients briefing paper. The criminalisation of sex workers’ clients is often claimed to be part of a new legal framework to eradicate sex work and trafficking by ‘ending demand’. In 1999, Sweden criminalised sex workers’ clients and maintained the criminalisation of third parties such as brothel-owners, managers, security and support staff. The individual selling of sex remained legal. This model is frequently referred to as the ‘Swedish’, ‘Nordic’ or ‘End Demand’ model. There is great pressure in many countries to advance such legal and policy measures. The damaging consequences of this model on sex workers’ health, rights and living conditions are rarely discussed.  

This briefing paper discusses the trend towards criminalisation of sex workers’ clients, a policy that is part of a new legal framework to eradicate sex work and trafficking by ‘ending demand’. In 1999, Sweden criminalised sex workers’ clients and maintained the criminalisation of third parties such as brothel-owners, managers, security and support staff. The individual selling of sex remained legal. This model is frequently referred to as the ‘Swedish’, ‘Nordic’ or ‘End Demand’ model. There is great pressure in many countries to advance such legal and policy measures. The damaging consequences of this model on sex workers’ health, rights and living conditions are rarely discussed. A  summary is also available.

This is a summary of the PEPFAR and Sex Work briefing paper. PEPFAR has made anti-retroviral treatment (ART) available for many people, including sex workers.  However, PEPFAR funding contracts with organisations specify that a certain amount of this money be spent on abstinence programming.  Contracts include a clause that the organisation accepting funding is opposed to prostitution.  This has been called the 'anti-prostitution pledge' or 'anti-prostitution loyalty oath'.

Theme: Health

This briefing paper discusses PEPFAR and its anti-prostitution pledge. PEPFAR has made anti-retroviral treatment (ART) available for many people, including sex workers.  However, PEPFAR funding contracts with organisations specify that a certain amount of this money be spent on abstinence programming.  Contracts include a clause that the organisation accepting funding is opposed to prostitution.  This has been called the 'anti-prostitution pledge' or 'anti-prostitution loyalty oath'. A 3 page summary of this briefing paper is also available.

Theme: Health