Policy Brief: COVID-19 and Sex Workers/ Sex Worker-led Organisations


As a criminalised population, sex workers have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, often living in precarious economic situations and excluded from social protection systems. This policy brief includes feedback directly from sex worker-led organisations and sex workers on their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact upon access to services, supplies of HIV treatment, and prevention commodities. It also highlights how the already extremely limited funding available for both advocacy and programming for sex workers continues to shrink.

This brief documents how sex worker-led organisations supported sex workers where states failed to provide adequate assistance in their social protection mechanisms and emergency responses. Finally, this paper examines the threats to sex workers and sex worker-led organisations as the world emerges from the pandemic, looks at how we can mitigate the harms and prepare sex worker-led organisations for future crises, and asks what lessons can be learned that might strengthen advocacy for sex workers’ rights going forward.

You can download this Policy Brief above. It is available in English, Russian, Chinese, French, and Spanish. A Community Guide is also available.