CEDAW Shadow Report on the Status of Sex Workers in Bangladesh


The Sex Workers Network (SWN), Bangladesh & Sex Workers and Allies in South Asia (SWASA), Bangladesh Chapter submitted this shadow report to to the 65th CEDAW Session, which took place in November 2016.

The report focuses on the eviction of sex workers. It also documents arbitrary detention of sex workers and extortion under threats of arrest and physical violence, as well as the barriers that stigma and legal costs create for sex workers in contesting arrest, extortion and charges. The report draws on global human and labor rights bodies' guidance, as well as extensive sex worker testimony, to argue that decriminalisation of sex work and distinction between trafficking and sex work is necessary to uphold sex workers' human rights, and generated a notably strong recommendation from the CEDAW committee upholding sex workers’ rights:

The Committee is also concerned about discrimination and violence against women in prostitution and their children who face stigmatization, forced evictions and frequent police harassment and are often denied access to education and health care…The Committee Recommends that the state party…Provide effective protection and prevent discrimination and violence against women in prostitution and their children, including police harassment and forced evictions, and ensure that they have adequate access to health care, education, accommodation and alternative livelihood opportunities.

Contents Include:

  • Contextual information
  • Past CEDAW global and national human rights bodies' past recommendations on sex work
  • Daily to day violence faced by women in the sex trade: eviction, a regular threat
  • Barriers in accessing justice
  • Need to distinguish between "trafficking," "sex work" and "irregular migration for work"
  • Why sex work needs to be decriminalized
  • Recommendations
  • Sex worker testimonies

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 sex workers in Bangladesh.

You can download this 19 page PDF above. This resource is available in English.