17 December: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

On December 17, 2010 the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) marks the seventh annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers with the release of the “Sex Work and Violence” issue of the NSWP journal Research for Sex Work.

The criminalisation of sex work, increases the vulnerability of sex workers to human rights violations and violence. However, sex workers are raising awareness, working with policy makers, and organizing against this violence, as the following examples from Research for Sex Work show:

  • In Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a survey of 238 male, female, and transgender sex workers conducted by the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) found that 42 percent of sex workers in the region reported having experienced physical violence by the police and 36 percent had experienced sexual violence.
  • Since 2006, police in Liverpool, UK have agreed a policy in which all crimes against sex workers are treated as hate crimes and have appointed a sex work liaison officer.
  • Though recently institutional violence in Cambodia has gotten a lot of attention, violence committed against sex workers by intimate partners is also a major problem. The Cambodian Prostitute Union provides education to sex workers and their abusive partners about the domestic violence law as well as counseling, support, and service referrals for sex workers.
  • The Aboriginal Sex Workers Education and Outreach Project in Canada was founded in 2008 to focus on the needs of Aboriginal street-based sex workers, who experience high rates of violence and HIV infection. Indigenous women are infected with HIV at nearly twice the rate as women in the general population.

PDFs of the “Sex Work and Violence” Research for Sex Work, a bilingual publication in English and Russian, can be downloaded for free, or free hard copies can be requested by emailing secretariat@nswp.org.


17 December graphic designed by Snatchi & Snatchi.