Case Study: Sex Worker-led Organisations’ Engagement with the Women’s Movement


The struggles for sex workers’ and women’s rights are innately interconnected. Worldwide, most sex workers are women, who share challenges in their fight for justice, equality, and the right to be free from violence, stigma, and discrimination. Nevertheless, within the women’s movement there have been obstacles to acceptance of and meaningful engagement with sex worker-led organisations, ranging from ideological opposition to outright abuse. These challenges often come from fundamental feminists and abolitionist groups who, conflating sex work with trafficking and exploitation, seek to abolish sex work as a means of ‘promoting gender equality’ and ‘ending violence against women.’

Nonetheless, over the last five decades, sex worker-led organisations have persevered, engaging with the women’s rights organisations to consolidate support from diverse feminist allies, from grassroots to global levels. As a result, sex worker-led organisations have made remarkable inroads within the women’s movement, transforming longstanding animosity and misunderstanding into a platform for growth and movement-building.

This case study documents the evolution of NSWP and its network’s diverse engagements within the women’s movement, examining the most significant challenges and achievements, as well as their impacts. Additionally, this case study showcases perspectives from external stakeholders within the women’s movement who have engaged closely with sex worker-led organisations. Finally, this case study explores lessons learned from these engagements and discusses strategies for addressing ongoing and emerging challenges.                     

You can download this Case Study above. It is available in English, Russian, Chinese, French, and Spanish.