Resources

Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) has released two complementary analyses on prostitution “diversion” programs (PDPs) in the USA: Diversion from Justice: 'A Rights-Based Analysis of Local ‘Prostitution Diversion Programs’ and their Impacts on People in the Sex Sector in the United States'; and 'Un-Meetable Promises: Rhetoric and Reality in New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts'. One is national in scope and the other focused specifically on New York City programming.

Behind the Rescue: How Anti-Trafficking Investigations and Policies Harm Migrant Sex Workers is a report produced by Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network), featuring the testimony of 18 Asian migrant sex workers, who contacted Butterfly when they were arrested, detained, and/or deported between May 2015 and August 2016 in Canada.

Download this resource: Behind the Rescue, Butterfly - 2018

In this article, founding member of Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network, Elene Lam, argues that migrant sex workers are excluded from the North American sex workers’ rights movement. Abolitionist feminists argue against sex workers’ rights by using the missing voices of migrant sex workers. Lam provides arguments for the inclusion of migrant sex workers in the movement to prevent this from happening.

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This article discusses sex worker organising in the United States. It's full title is 'United States Organising: It Is Not Okay to De-Legitimise Sex Work Under Guise of Trafficking and End Demand'. It was written by Cris Sardina of the Desiree Alliance, Penelope Saunders of the Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP) and others from local communities in the US. The article was published as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work. Contents include:

In 2013, the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTICs) were launched in New York. These courts were the USA's first statewide human trafficking intervention within a justice system. This research explores the impact of these courts through studying 364 cases in 2013 and 2014. It concludes that the HTICS do not respect the human rights of the people they process and distort the line between consent and coercion. This makes it more difficult for people who are victimised – by clients, ‘pimps’, police, and courts – to seek justice.

This study gives a legal analysis of the legislative framework and jurisprudence relating to human trafficking in Canada. It also analyses the views of both criminal justice system personnel and SWAN society personnel on the enforcement and use of anti-trafficking legal measures. Contents include:

‘The XXX Forum’ entitled “Celebrating a Decade of Action, Designing Our Future,” was a first of its kind in Quebec. It was a historical moment, a time for dialogue and for sharing our thoughts on how to support sex workers all over the world. This meeting allowed us to consolidate a system for community support by and for sex workers, and to attack the stigma that affects people who do sex work.

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The present paper has been produced by a Member of NSWP (Persist Health Project) and is a useful read for service providers seeking to shape their services to the needs of sex workers.

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The assessment was conducted using a community-based research approach in order  for it to be an accurate reflection of street-based sex work. The research team consisted of staff members from the Regent Park Community Health Centre and Street Health and community members who were previously involved in sex work. The survey tool was developed and approved for use by the network of sex workers from Barrie, York Region, Peterborough and Toronto in Canada. A standardised set of questions with some closed and open ended questions was included in the survey. Former sex workers from the community were involved as co-researchers and conducted face to face interviews with current sex workers.

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The article examines how language helps the construction of fictive kinships networks (family-like structures among marginalized populations) amongst Southwestern U.S. street-level sex workers. These networks establish ties and obligations - as well as power structures - between members of the community.

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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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Emi Koyama draws out links in rhetoric and tactics between the war on terror and the war on trafficking. She addresses three key myths of the anti-trafficking movement. Koyama demonstrates the extent to which the ceaseless propogation of these myths constitutes a "wilfull ignorance of reality" best understood as a "tacit conspiracy between the promoters of misinformation and its recipients". She locates this "tacit conspiracy" in a preference for the simple fears of scary "bad people" over the more complex, structural fears of "poverty, racism, sexism, neoliberalistic global capitalism, and its assault on the public safety net, homophobia, transphobia, and unjust immigration laws".

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In relation to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, public statements were made which project an alarming increase in this human trafficking. These claims are inconsistent with the evidence in this research document, that trafficking and mega-events are not linked.

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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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The Canadian state undertook a major restructuring of the immigration and refugee programme in the 1990s, committing itself to creating a new immigration act as part of this process. Trafficking is one major issue that the new act would concern itself with.

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This report presents the expert opinions of sex workers and their experiences working within the current legal framework. The affidavits highlight many ways in which Canada’s sex trade laws worsen the already harmful conditions under which sex workers live, add to the stigma of their employment and social position, and support the inference that sex workers are less worthy of value than other members of society. Given this evidence, it is argued that the laws violate the expression, liberty, security and equality provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is found that these violations cannot be justified in a free and democratic society. This report also puts forward recommendations for law reform in Canada.

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This report summarises the findings of a human rights project conducted by the Sex Workers Project in 2007 and 2008 to explore the impacts and effectiveness of  anti-trafficking approaches in the United States. These approaches include anti-trafficking raids and vice raids targeting sex work conducted by local law enforcement agencies in different cities. It is among the first efforts since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to give voice to the perspectives of trafficked persons and sex workers who have experienced anti-trafficking raids. A total of 46 people were interviewed for the report.

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This report examines the impact of law enforcement approaches to street-based sex work in New York City and proposes a series of policy and practice recommendations for reform based on the researchers’ analyses of the data collected. This report also seeks to promote reasoned, fact-based, and informed debate regarding street-based prostitution in New York City. Public discussion of this issue usually occurs in flashy headlines that are meant to titillate rather than to explore the consequences of policy decisions in depth. This is a special effort to give voice to the problems faced by street-based sex workers, using their own words, since this is a voice that is almost always left out of policy debates.

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This report is submitted by the Best Practices Policy Project, Desiree Alliance, and the Sexual Rights Initiative. It focuses on civil and human rights violations of those engaged, or perceived to be engaged, in sexual trade and sex work in the U.S..

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