Briefing Paper: Shrinking Spaces and Silencing Voices


Funding for sex worker-led organisations is shrinking, as has the space for the voices of sex workers, resulting in sex workers having less influence in programmes, policies and other decisions that affect their lives. Civil society organisations and other stakeholders now feel they have the right to funding and advocacy platforms, either because they work with sex workers and are therefore ‘experts’ who can speak for sex workers, or they wish to exclude sex workers’ voices entirely because they refuse to recognise sex workers’ rights as human rights. Some national and international fora are also seen as hostile environments for sex workers, and sex workers are sometimes actively excluded by organisers.

This briefing paper exposes and examines the ways in which sex workers’ direct input is excluded from key spaces at local, national, regional and international levels. Highlighting the importance of human rights, community empowerment and self-determination for sex workers, this paper also provides specific recommendations to remedy these problems going forward.

You can download this 17 page paper above. It is now available in English, French, Russian, Spanish and Chinese. A Community Guide is also available.