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.

NSWP have written an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Government of Spain, and the leaders of all political parties in the Congress of Deputies regarding the legislative proposals to amend the Spanish Penal Code and introduce new provisions regarding sex work. The proposed reforms include amending the Penal Code to extend the punishment of third parties to include non-coercive relationships and decouple it from exploitation and consent, violating sex workers’ right to housing and the security of sex workers, many of whom live and work in the same place.

Download this resource: NSWP Open Letter, NSWP - 2022

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

Contents include:

NSWP member organisation the English Collective of Prostitutes and Dr Laura Connelly from the University of Salford have published new research that looks at EU Migrant Sex Work in the UK Post-Referendum.  

The research, conducted in 2019, shows that violence, xenophobia and threats of deportation against migrant sex workers from the European Union have risen since the EU Referendum.

Key findings from the research include:

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) strongly supports efforts to decriminalise sex work that have been put forward by the Government of Malta. We reiterate the need for a human rights-based approach to sex work and encourage the Maltese government to continue with the law reform towards the full decriminalisation of sex work.

Fuckförbundet launched a new report - "20 Years Of Failing Sex Workers" - as part of their 2019 conference "Sex Work, Human Rights And Health: Assessing 20 Years Of Swedish Model". It brings together available evidence from sex workers on the impact of the law. 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.

In February 2016, following pressure from fundamental feminist and abolitionist organisations, the Serbian government criminalised the purchase of sexual services through amendments to the Public Law and Order Act. Sex workers were ignored during discussion that preceded the adoption of the law. Selling sex remains criminalised. Criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services in Serbia has increased sex workers’ vulnerability to violence and marginalisation and reduced their access to services. Police continue to perpetrate violence against, extort money from, and ignore reports of violence against sex workers. Fundamental feminist and abolitionist discourse has increased the exclusion of sex workers from the women’s and LGBT organisations in the country.

To mark International Sex Workers' Day on 2nd June, SWAN published a new briefing paper on Sex Work Legal Frameworks in Central-Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA).

With support from NSWP, STAR-STAR collaborated with Healthy Options Project Skopje, The Coalition MARGINS, Stronger Together Association for Support of People Living with HIV, and the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health to develop this shadow report for 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 Macedonia.

NSWP denounces the harassment, arrests and detention of sex workers as part of the recently launched ‘Ujana’ programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2016, France adopted a law criminalising the clients of sex workers. This report focuses on the impact of this new legislation on the health, rights and living conditions of sex workers in the country. 

The full report and 8-page summary of the report are available above in English and French, and on the Médecins du Monde website

PION, Norway, with support from NSWP, submitted this shadow report to the 68th CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2017. The report is based on in-depth interviews, conducted over a two-month period, with sex workers and social service providers. It documents how local administrative laws and the criminalisation of clients and third parties increase stigma and discrimination, impede access to justice and health services, and result in arbitrary deportations and evictions.

Download this resource: PION Norway CEDAW Shadow Report

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.

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.