Resources

Sex workers all over the world were among the hardest hit communities at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be impacted by this global public health crisis. The structural oppression that sex workers faced before the pandemic as a result of criminalisation, stigma and discrimination was exacerbated as sex workers experienced hardship, a total loss of income, increased harassment, human rights abuses, and health inequalities. The vast majority of sex workers were excluded from emergency responses and national social protection schemes.

Anti-rights movements pose numerous threats to sex workers, with their diverse ideologies, aims, and emerging alliances. These threats must be better understood to promote sex workers’ rights.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: The Impacts of Anti-Rights Movements on Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for respecting and protecting sex workers’ human rights.

In recent years, movements organised against the rights of marginalised and criminalised groups have grown in influence and impact around the globe. Anti-migrants’ rights groups have lobbied for more restrictive border policies, in violation of the right to move and migrate. Anti-sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and anti-LGBT groups have pushed back access to sexual and reproductive services and gender-affirming care for women, trans, and gender-diverse people, in violation of the right to health.

Sex workers were among the hardest hit at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be impacted by this global public health crisis. The challenges that sex workers faced before COVID-19, as a result of criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, were all exacerbated by the pandemic.

The 2023-2028 Global Fund Strategy will guide Global Fund approaches, decision-making, and investment for the next 6 years in a 70-page document. It is important because it describes what the Global Fund will do and how it will do it. The Strategy will influence how investment will be disbursed at the country level, how and who will implement programmes, and how and who will be involved in making the decisions.

Theme: Health

This is the fourth set of videos in a series from NSWP called Global Fund Basics.

This set of videos covers the new Global Fund Strategy 2023-2028. 

Video 1 covers an introduction to the Strategy and the Strategy Framework.

Video 2 covers the Evolving Objective and begins to look at the Strategy Narrative in more detail.

Video 3 covers the Mutually Reinforcing Contributory Objectives, maximising engagement and leadership of communities and maximising health equity, gender equality and human rights.

Universal Health Coverage speaks to the global goal of providing all people with the health care they need without creating undue financial burdens on the individual. In many parts of the world, health provision and access to health services remains extremely poor, particularly for criminalised and marginalised populations such as sex workers and other key populations.

Cover of strategic plan showing a world map covered in red umbrellas

 

The Strategic Plan outlines the mission, values, goals and strategies of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) in 2022-2025. 

Download this resource: Strategic Plan 2022-2025, NSWP - 2022

Sex workers worldwide are overwhelmingly excluded from social protection schemes and government emergency responses put in place for other workers. Criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, and the failure to recognise sex work as work compound sex workers’ exclusion and foster economic insecurity. Sex work must be recognised as work and all aspects decriminalised to ensure that sex workers can access the same social protections, emergency financial support, and labour rights as all other workers.

Stigma still the major barrier for an effective HIV/AIDS response

By Shyamala Ashok, India

After a great trauma and toil in loosing one of our committed peer educators for sex workers and most of all a young friend of ours with the HIV status, a member of the women's positive network in Pondicherry, I have tried to illustrate the case for an analysis as below.

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From:Melissa Hope

Date:September 13, 2005 11:48:42 AM EDT
To:bmcserieseditor@biomedcentral.com, editorial@biomedcentral.com, info@biomedcentral.com
Cc:Lori Heise , brachlis@ccnm.edu, Kumanan.Wilson@uhn.on.ca, sosingh@jhsph.edu, pwu@ccnm.edu, elainem.wong@gmail.com, emills@ccnm.edu
Subject:Letter in response to Mills et al's "Media reporting of tenofovir trials in Cambodia and Cameroon"

To the editor:

Mills et al("Media reporting of tenofovir trials in Cambodia and Cameroon" BMC International Health and Human Rights 2005, 5:6, 24 August 24, 2005) claim in their first sentence that PREP trials were "closed due to activist pressure on host country governments". Activists worked to improve trial conditions, which would have been a real victory. The reason these trials were closed was that researchers did not meet with or meet the needs of participants. This lack of engagement with participants is why participants became activists and reached out to their international support networks and the media.

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APNSW statement at 7th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, Kobe, Japan

July 5, 2005

Please forward widely

This morning at the closing ceremony of the Seventh International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific Maria-san and Andrew of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) talked about sex workers' experience of the conference. The opportunity for sex workers from twenty countries throughout the region to come together again. We had a lot to celebrate. The APNSW and the Japanese sex workers movement were both founded here in Japan in Yokohama in 1994. Now as then our Japanese sex worker colleagues were wonderful hosts organizing cultural events that ensured that male, female and transgender sex workers were the stars of the day.

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Theme: Health

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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In response to the traditional emphasis on the rights, interests, and well-being of individual research subjects, there has been growing attention focused on the importance of involving communities in research development and approval.

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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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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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This report summarises the AIDS challenge in Asian and Pacific countries. Using the best available evidence, it discusses the reasons why critical services currently reach only a fraction of those in need. It also outlines the action needed that will allow the region to seize this key moment of opportunity.

Finally, the report makes recommendations for urgent implementation of strategies known to work, by global, regional and national political leaders, by international donors, the UN system, civil society and other key stakeholders in Asia and the Pacific.

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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

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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