The Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Centre

Contact email
Who do you work with?

The Sex Workers Project provides client-centred legal and social services to individuals of any gender, age, nationality, income level or sexual orientation, who engage or formerly engaged in sex work regardless of whether they do so by choice, circumstance or coercion.

How are sex workers involved in your organisation?

We share our expertise through legal education workshops for sex workers, we support sex worker-led organising and we pursue policy change aiming to make a real and demonstrable impact in the lives of our constituents. We also conduct human rights documentation rooted in the real life experiences of sex workers and survivors of trafficking. Occasionally we employ sex workers or former sex workers as interns or staff.

Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face

The two main challenges would be criminalisation and violence (a third would be poverty). Our clients suffer arrest, harassment and abuse by police officers, collateral consequences of having criminal records, including difficulties getting immigration status. Our clients also suffer high levels of violence and trauma including human trafficking which is compounded by the lack of legal recourse.

Describe other areas of your work

Our attorney’s help clients remain in stable housing, access safer working conditions and employment options, reunite their families, clear their criminal records, secure legal immigration status and fight police misconduct and hate crimes. Our social workers provide long term supportive therapy and case management. We also engage policy and media advocacy and research on issues affecting sex workers and victims of human trafficking.

United States