Legislation around sex work can be extremely complex and different legal models exist in different countries, and sometimes even within countries. While understanding the written laws and regulations is important, it does not provide a complete picture of the impact of sex work laws on the lives of sex workers. To understand this, it is essential to understand how the laws are interpreted, enforced, and implemented on the ground.
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Briefing Paper: How Sex Work Laws are Implemented on the Ground and Their Impact on Sex Workers - A Study of Ten African Countries
Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance (ZIMSWA) submitted this shadow report to the CEDAW committee in 2020 during the 75th CEDAW Session.
Sisonke South Africa submitted this shadow report in 2020 to the CEDAW committee as a complement to the fifth periodic report submitted by the South African government in October 2019.
In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total from 55 different countries, out of which 18 responses were from 11 countries – Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam – in the Asia and the Pacific region
National Case Study: Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited – Economic Empowerment for Sex Workers
Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (USHA) is the largest and the first ever sex worker-led financial institution in South Asia, exclusively run by and for sex workers. Steered by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a sex worker collective in West Bengal, India, USHA provides economic empowerment to sex workers by offering them loans at low interest rates, encouraging short and long-term savings and supporting self-employment schemes.
In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total from 55 different countries out of which 22 responses were from 13 countries – Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, and Zambia – in the Africa region.
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), with support from the Key Populations Representation Evidence and Advocacy for Change in Health Programme (KP REACH), has published a study on violence against sex workers in Africa. Among the issues cited by sex workers as exacerbating violence against them are criminalisation and stigma, which impact access to health services and other amenities.
As part of its programme 'Rights not Rescue: Sex Work, Migration, Exploitation and Trafficking', ICRSE has published 'Trafficking 101: a community resource for sex workers' rights activists'.
Human Rights Watch and the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) have released a new report recommending the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa, in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of women, and respond to the HIV pandemic.
This shadow report was submitted by Congolese sex worker-led organisations UMANDE and ACODHU-TS during the 73rd CEDAW Session, which took place June-July 2019.
Sex workers in Mozambique experience high levels and multiple forms of violence. Despite constant dialogue with the Government, the police act as protectors of sex workers, but they can also be perpetrators of violence. The relationship between sex workers and health unit professionals can also be problematic. This shadow report, submitted by sex worker-led Mozambican organisation Tiyane Vavasate Association during the 73rd CEDAW Session, which took place June-July 2019, highlights these issues.
Sisonke-Botswana and Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV and AIDS (BONELA) submitted this shadow report during the 72nd CEDAW Session, which took place February-March 2019. The report elaborates on the situation of cisgender and transgender women who are sex workers in Botswana. The report focuses the criminalisation of sex work; violence, abuse, and failure to act on reports of violence by police; stigma and discrimination faced by sex workers in accessing health services, and lack of free antiretrovirals for migrants.
RAIDED: How Anti-Trafficking Strategies Increase Sex Workers' Vulnerability to Exploitative Practices
RAIDED was developed to forefront the experiences of women in sex work who have been raided, rescued and rehabilitated under the provision of anti-trafficking initiatives in India. It examines women’s narratives along with quantitative data about the strategies of raid, rescue and rehabilitation deployed to combat trafficking of women into sex work. The study unravels the impact of laws and policies on the lives of sex workers.
Society for Women Awareness Nepal (SWAN) submitted this shadow report during the 71st CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2018. The report elaborates on the situation of cisgender and transgender women who are sex workers in Nepal. It focuses on the social justice and health issues that sex workers in Nepal face.
The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, with support from NSWP, submitted this shadow report to the 70th CEDAW Session, which took place June-July 2017. The report elaborates on the situation of women who are sex workers in New Zealand. It documents the way their situation has been advanced under the New Zealand Model of decriminalisation. The report also highlights disparities that still exist between non-migrant sex workers and migrant sex workers.
NSWP denounces the harassment, arrests and detention of sex workers as part of the recently launched ‘Ujana’ programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Empower Foundation has released a new resource library on their website, comprising books, reports, letters and films on a variety of topics linked to sex workers' rights in Thailand. You can access the full set of resources here (most available in English and Thai).
The Kenya Sex Worker Alliance (KESWA) and Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme, with support from NSWP and CREA, submitted this shadow report to the 68th CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2017. Titled “Aren’t We Also Women,” the report incorporates quotes from sex workers and is based on desk research and extensive interviews with KESWA member organisations.
Project X, Singapore, with support from NSWP, submitted this shadow report to the 68th CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2017. The report focuses on the various human rights abuses and discrimination. In particular, it focuses on the ambiguous legal framework governing sex work in Singapore and the impact it has on women’s lives.
This pamphlet by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective offers information to sex workers who have experienced sexual assault, as well as advice for how others can be supportive. The guide includes ideas for emotional and physical self-care, people to contact for support, and considerations if the assault occurred in a brothel environment.