Resources

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.

Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance (ZIMSWA) submitted this shadow report to the CEDAW committee in 2020 during the 75th CEDAW Session.

Contents include:

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.

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.

The Nigeria Sex Workers Association- Precious Jewels (NSWA) submitted this shadow report to the 67th CEDAW Session, which took place in July 2017. The report focuses on the impact of stigma, penalisation and discrimination on female sex workers' ability to access HIV prevention and health services, and their vulnerability to HIV and violence at the hands of police. The report also provides background information about NSWA and economic, health, and population context in Nigeria.

This report by Empower Foundation Thailand describes the organisation’s experience submitting a shadow report to and attending the CEDAW committee’s 67th session in Summer, 2017.  The report includes detailed information on all stages of Empower’s engagement with CEDAW, including their goals for engagement, drafting their report, and participating in formal and informal CEDAW sessions in Geneva.

Empower Foundation Thailand submitted this shadow report to the 67th CEDAW session, which took place in July 2017. The report focuses on raids against entertainment industry establishments, which are perpetuated by the conflation of sex work and trafficking. The report details entrapment and police violence during raids, as well as lack of access to a fair trial, labour protections, and health for Thai sex workers. A detailed report on their experiences engaging with the CEDAW committee is also available here.

NSWP members SANGRAM and VAMP, along with CASAM and women’s rights organisation MASUM submitted this shadow report on the status of sex workers in India to the 58th CEDAW Committee in July 2014. The report highlights the violence and rights violations experienced by sex workers and includes testimonies from sex workers across India.

The Kenyan Network of Sex Workers, including KESWA and the Bar Hostess Empowerment & Support Programme, has submitted this document to the CEDAW Working Group which will review Kenya in November 2017.

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 following is a statement from the National Network of Sex Workers challenging the ‘Last Girl First’: Second World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls (January 29-31, 2017, New Delhi, India) organised by the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International (CAP Intl). 

The South Asia Sex Workers Network (Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) have submitted this joint response to the UN Women Consultation on "sex work, sex trade, and prostitution." They produced a film featuring sex workers voices towards an inclusive policy on sex work, and based their response on their consultation with sex workers. The consultation was attended by participants from four South Asian countries respresenting four national level networks, five state level networks, 55 community-led organisations, and 25 supporting organisations.