CEDAW Shadow Report Russia


In 2015, NSWP member Silver Rose submitted this shadow report to the CEDAW committee review of the Russian Federation.  The shadow report is based on information collected by Silver Rose during their day-to-day work with sex workers in St. Petersburg, Silver Rose documentation of human rights abuses, and analysis of media representations across Russia.

The report is structured around CEDAW articles. It focuses on the harms of punishing sex work as an administrative offense, including illegal police raids, sexual extortion of sex workers by police, blackmail and public shaming, and unlawful and arbitrary detention. It also documents lack of government health services for sex workers, especially non-native sex workers, and discrimination against sex workers by family courts and discrimination against sex workers who are victims to a crime in criminal courts.

In addition to documenting human rights abuses of sex workers specific to the CEDAW Convention framework, the report also offers recommendations, including:

  • Creating protections for sex workers within national anti-discrimination laws
  • Creating a policy of decriminalisation, in line with the Amnesty International's sex work policy
  • Removing administrative offenses against sex work and end police raids
  • Protecting sex workers' parental rights as fundamental human rights
  • Addressing state media representation of sex workers, which fuels violence and increases stigma
  • Supporting evidence-based, HIV and STI programmes for sex workers, regardless of nationality, gender, or registration
  • Ensuring sex workers can report violence and discrimination and access justice

Their report and engagement notably led the CEDAW committee to recognise the penalisation of sex work as the cause of widespread violence and discrimination against sex workers in Russia.

Their submission is useful for sex workers who are interested in submitting their own report to CEDAW once their own country is reviewed. It is also useful for those interested in learning more about the human rights situation of female sex workers in Russia.

You can download the 7 page PDF above. This resource is available in English.