Resources

In 1999, the Swedish government embarked on an experiment in social engineering1 to end men’s practice of purchasing commercial sexual services. The government enacted a new law criminalizing the purchase (but not the sale) of sex (Swedish Penal Code). It hoped that the fear of arrest and increased public stigma would convince men to change their sexual behaviour. The government also hoped that the law would force the estimated 1,850 to 3,000 women who sold sex in Sweden at that time to find another line of work.

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Silence on Violence: Improving Safety of Women - the policing of off-street sex work and trafficking in London

This report was written in the run-up to the Olympic Games, held in London 2012 and it considers two overacrhing areas related to womens' safety within sex work: the policing of sex trafficking, and within that the policing for the Olymipics; and the general policing of sex workers. The report focusses on off-street sex work as the evidence shows that it very rarely, if at all, involves trafficked women.

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The article explores the policy underpinning Sweden’s 1999 ban on the purchase of sexual services in the context of the social and health service sectors and the way that these sectors interact with sex workers. It argues that the rationale behind the sex purchase ban is difficult to reconcile with social policy outwith the 'merits' of criminal justice.

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This article looks at how legalisation came to the netherlands; what it was intended to do, and what the impact has been on sex workers. In order to answer these lines of enquiry, the article examines what discourses frame the major actors in this debate, starting with a historical overview of Dutch sex work policies throughout the 20th century. Having established the socio-political backdrop of the Netherlands' approach to legalised sex work, the resource discusses how legalisation (or regulationism) "did not solve a number of serious problems in the sex industry".

This concise guide to the difference between sex work and trafficking - and what a response to trafficking grounded in sex worker rights looks like - discusses the key differences between sex work and trafficking; the differences that make the habitual conflation of the two not only inaccurate but also a hinderance to tackling actual exploitation, and a threat to the human rights of sex workers.

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This is NSWP's response to the consultation carried out in Scotland (UK) on the Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex.  

This proposal would make it illegal to purchase sex in Scotland. Rhoda Grant MSP, who carried out the consultation, believes that ‘prostitution in Scotland is a form of sexual violence against women and sexual exploitation.’  She believes that ‘prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanising’ and that ‘the majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants.’

You can download this 1 page PDF document above.  This resource is in English.

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PROS Network (Providers and Resources Offering Services to sex workers) participated in two studies in New York around the impact of policies that use of condoms as ‘evidence of prostitution’. This report written by the PROS Network and Leigh Tomppert of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, which was funded by Open Society Foundation and the Elton John Foundation, compares the findings of the two studies.

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In 1999, the Swedish government embarked on an experiment in social engineering to end men’s practice of purchasing commercial sexual services. The government enacted a new law criminalising the purchase (but not the sale) of sex (Swedish Penal Code). It hoped that the fear of arrest and increased public stigma would convince men to change their sexual behaviour. The government also hoped that the law would force the estimated 1,850 to 3,000 women who sold sex in Sweden at that time to find another line of work.

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PONY Statement on Demand

Submitted to the Beijing +10 Fourth World Conference on Women by Prostitutes of New York

Written by Jo Doezema and Melissa Ditmore

Prostitutes of New York is an organization of many kinds of workers in New York City's sex industry. PONY is a member of the international Network of Sex Work Projects, which advocates for the rights of sex workers around the world. Two keywords have arisen in anti-sex work anti-trafficking advocacy: "demand" and "dignity."

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This report focuses on indoor sex work primarily because, while these sex workers are largely invisible, they face many of the same problems as the more visible street-based prostitutes. The stereotypes of indoor sex workers encompass only extremes of either wealth and glamour or coercion and violence. The true picture reveals a more nuanced reality—the majority of indoor sex workers in this study live surprisingly precarious lives, and encounter a high level of exactly the same problems faced by street-based sex workers, including violence, constant fear of police interference, and a lack of substantive support services. Finding concrete and reality-based solutions to the needs of this invisible, vulnerable, and marginalised community is imperative to helping them create safe and stable lives.

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This booklet explains how Canada’s criminal laws related to prostitution affect the health and the human rights of sex workers. It recommends changes to those laws to improve the lives of sex workers. This booklet is based on the report Sex, work, rights: reforming Canadian criminal laws on prostitution (click for more information and to download the 124 page report), published in 2005 by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

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Prostitution, the exchange of sex for money and other valuable consideration, is legal in Canada. However, it is difficult for sex workers and their clients to engage legally in prostitution. Four sections of the Criminal Code (sections 210 to 213) make illegal virtually every activity related to prostitution and prohibit prostitution in almost every conceivable public or private place. Sections 210 and 211 respectively make it illegal for a person to keep a “bawdy-house” – i.e., a place regularly used for prostitution – or to transport a person to such a place. Section 212 makes it illegal to encourage or force people to participate in prostitution (also known as “procuring”), or to live on the money earned from prostitution by someone else (also known as “living on the avails of prostitution”).

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This Declaration is made by sex workers and by organisations dedicated to promoting their human rights and welfare. The Declaration lists rights that all individuals within Europe, including sex workers, enjoy under international human rights law; the Declaration then prescribes measures and recommends practices that the signatories of the Declaration believe are the minimum necessary to ensure that these rights are respected and protected. These rights must be respected and protected in the development and implementation of policies and programmes designed to address trafficking, irregular migration or terrorism.

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This paper addresses the persistence of violence against female commercial sex workers in the United States, drawing on the experiences of the Best Practices Policy Project in conducting outreach, research, and relationship building with diverse commercial sex worker stakeholders.

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Letter to the U. S. Department of State. This letter, signed by nine researchers from around the globe and addressed to Ambassador John Miller, provides a response to the facts listed in the Department of State's Fact Sheet on Prostitution and Trafficking, released in 2004. In this letter, the signatories discuss the problems with the fact sheet and it's conclusions,

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This memorandum analyses the constitutionality of the federal government’s requirement that international relief organisations adopt policies explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking if they wish to participate in federally-funded programmes designed to combat the worldwide spread of HIV/AIDS. We conclude that the First Amendment bars Congress from requiring relief organisations based in the United States to adopt a specific policy position opposing prostitution as a condition of participating in federally-funded programmes delivering HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and related social services.  

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This report provides an overview of important issues that sex workers face in the region as well as to the political, economic, and social factors that influence policies and attitudes toward sex workers. It focuses primarily on existing laws and policies and their consequences from the perspective of HIV prevention and treatment. The report also offers recommendations designed to uphold sex workers’ human rights and remove barriers that reduce their ability or willingness to obtain access to consistent and equitable health care and other social services.

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