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.

In Australia, certain sexual acts performed in pornography are deemed offensive and degrading in criminal law. Zahra Stardust demonstrates how performer-producers are resisting government classification and criminal laws by engaging in sex workers' rights activism through creating performer-centered spaces and pioneering best practices labour standards. This article was published as a part of Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience.

Theme: Labour

In Kampala, Uganda, there is a large network of sex worker-led organisations that unite under the umbrella organisation Uganda Harmonized Rights Alliance (UHRA). Paula Pönkänen and Hanna Jörneus argue that sex work organising in Uganda is a great example of how sex workers develop and implement their own programming. They provide an overview of sex worker-led programming in Kampala.

This is a summary of the findings of the Economic Empowerment: Does Rehabilitation Have a Role? briefing paper and the Overcoming Practices that Limit Sex Worker Agency in the Asia Pacific Region briefing paper. In this summary, NSWP reflects on the impact of economic empowerment programmes for sex workers.

This briefing paper discusses case studies on economic empowerment programmes for sex workers with rehabilitation elements, documented across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda. The case studies highlight factors that negatively affect sex workers’ participation in economic empowerment programmes and looks at some of the key lessons that have been learnt when implementing economic empowerment programmes for sex workers. A summary is also available.

This research is the first large scale quantitative research on sex workers in Fiji. It has enabled an understanding of the nature and extent of sex work in Fiji, rates of HIV and STI infection among sex workers and their knowledge and behaviour around safer sex practices. This research will compliment valuable insights gained from previous qualitative research. The findings from this research will assist in the appropriate targeting and provision of education, resources and health care services to a group previously defined by UNAIDS as a most-at-risk population.

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A series of behavioural-biological surveys in 2008 and 2011 in four districts of Karnataka found that mobilising female sex workers is central to effective HIV prevention programming. Defining community mobilisation exposure as low, medium or high, the study revealed female sex workers with high exposure to community mobilisation are:

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This paper discusses policies and programmes affecting sex workers that limit their economic empowerment. It aims to frame sex work in terms of labour migration, economics and empowering labour environments, rather than in terms of power, disease and immorality. A summary of this paper is also available.

In Southeast Asia, APNSW observed that sex workers frequently move to faraway lands to find more lucrative work and economic enhancement, but are greatly constrained by anti-trafficking policies framed by a belief that no woman will move willingly to work in sex work. Anti-trafficking laws are often used to limit free movement of women in sex work by raiding and ‘rescuing’ them. Though this is ostensibly done to help them escape traffickers, it is mainly used to ‘correct’ their behaviour.

This paper uses an example from Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers' Association and argues for more insider research on migrant sex work and trafficking. The paper is detailed and takes the reader through all the ethical considerations, processes and outcomes of a large scale multilingual migrant sex worker research project

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The Chinese government is arbitrarily detaining sex workers through a flawed government policy purportedly aimed at education and rehabilitation, Asia Catalyst said in a new report released in December 2013.

The report documents excessive use of force by police in the detention of female sex workers, as well as the women's subsequent incarceration in the little-known "Custody and Education (C&E)" system.

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This study can be used as evidence of the need for governments and health programmes to take the needs and rights of sex workers living with HIV on board!

Although disproportionately affected by HIV, sex workers remain neglected by efforts to expand access to ART. In Zimbabwe, this qualitative research study was carried out to determine some of the reasons sex workers take up HIV referrals and ART initiation.

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Theme: Health

Based upon detailed life histories of 96 Ugandan sex workers, this article documents the pathways women take into sex work through marital separation and the subsequent need to support children via rural-urban migration to obtain wage work in Kampala.

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The Law and Sexworker Health (LASH) team at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales were funded by the NSW Ministry of Health to better inform policy considerations, and the National Health and Medical Research Council to investigate if the various approaches across Australian jurisdictions were associated with different health and welfare outcomes for sex workers.

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This summary, written under the aegis of the Center for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalisation (CASAM), presents the preliminary results of the first pan-India survey on sex workers. These preliminary findings have been developed for an event in Mumbai on 30 April 2011. The authors appreciate the opportunity to discuss their research with an audience of critical stakeholders. A report which provides their final analysis and data relating to male, trans sex workers, sexuality, stigma and discrimination as well as the 0.5% of 15-17 year olds in this sample will be published later in the year. For the final report please contact info@sangram.org.

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This study reviewed the condom utilization rates among female sex workers in Thailand, and determined that the rates of use fall far below the 100% Condom Usage rates advocated by the Thailand Ministry of Public Health.

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This report details the changes in HIV infection rates in Thailand from the 1980's (prior to the implementation of the 100% Condom Use Programme) to the current day, and examines both the improvements that have been made and the areas still unresolved with regard to sex worker health and safety.

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The criminalisation of sex work in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa leaves sex workers vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse, as well as extortion, from law enforcement officers such as police and border guards. Human rights violations and a lack of safe and supportive working conditions render sex workers particularly vulnerable to HIV. These are some of the findings of this report on the health and rights challenges confronted by female, male, and transgender sex workers in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.

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This study examines the prevalence of STIs (especially Gonorrhoea & Chlamydia) in female sex workers in Soc Trang, Vietnam. It found that the prevalence of GC/CT is high amongst female social workers in Soc Trang. Therefore, periodic presumptive treatment (PPT) for cervicitis, together with World Health Organisation recommended periodic syndromic sexually transmitted disease management, for FSWs and further interventions should be considered, and a 100% condom use programme should be promptly implemented. The existing STI health education program for FSWs should be strengthened.

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A recent analysis of HIV epidemiology in Cambodia indicated that national prevalence dropped from to 2.2 percent in 2002 to 1.9 percent in 2003 (National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology, and Sexually Transmitted Disease; NCHADS, 2004; UNAIDS, 2005a). As one of the few nations that have managed to check the spread of HIV, Cambodia is widely praised as a success story. This success is often attributed to the 100% Condom Programme. However, the evidence in this report reveals that the national HIV/AIDS program has failed to protect the rights of sex workers as women and as citizens. The recent U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Department of State, 2006) stated that “Local and international NGOs reported that violence against women, including domestic violence and rape, was common. A local NGO study conducted on women working in the beer promotion industry reported widespread harassment: 83 percent experienced derogatory behavior, 80 percent faced unwanted sexual touching, 54 percent were physically abused, and 60 percent had been threatened, sometimes at gun point.” The report goes on to list impunity of security forces, a weak judiciary and denial of the right to a fair trial in addition to other problems. As governments and donors increasingly move toward HIV care and treatment while coverage of vulnerable groups with appropriate prevention programmes remains low, minimum packages that only promote condom use and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections but ignore the barriers created by stigma and discrimination are likely to fail. UNAIDS (2005b) highlights this problem in its recent policy paper emphasizing the protection of human rights and combating stigma and discrimination, not only for those already living with HIV, but also for those vulnerable or at risk of acquiring an HIV infection.

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Theme: Health

The objective of this article is to describe the use of lemon/lime juice for douching by female sex workers and family planning clients in Jos, Nigeria. Over half the women believed that it protected them from pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections; they did not know their HIV status. Eighty-six percent would recommend it to others, and 71% would be willing to take part in a study to evaluate its safety and efficacy. Conclusion: Lemon and lime juice are widely used for douches among women at high risk of HIV transmission.

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Theme: Health