By recognising sex workers as experts and meaningfully involving them in all policies, programmes, discussions, and decisions which affect their lives, allies can play a crucial role advancing sex workers’ human rights and supporting sex worker-led organisations. At the same time, allies can also undermine, invisibilise, and exclude sex workers – whether intended or not – when these principles are not upheld.
The Global Fund has established Codes of Conduct which employees, resource recipients, suppliers, Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) members, and governance officials must uphold while carrying out their work. One of the requirements, which applies to all parties under these codes, is to prohibit ‘sexual exploitation.’ Due to widespread conflations of sex work with ‘sexual exploitation,’ however, there is concern that this provision may be misinterpreted to exclude sex workers.
The right to participation in public and political life is enshrined in international human rights law. Broadly, ‘public life’ refers to the realm in which political processes and activities occur. Participation in public life can be formal or informal, taking place from the grassroots to global levels. Through diverse forms of engagement in public life, sex workers have successfully influenced policies, programmes, practices, and discussions which affect their lives.
Misinformation on sex work has flourished for centuries, fuelled by age-old stereotypes, myths, and moral judgments which continue to shape policies and public opinions. Whether falsehoods are disseminated to deliberately deceive, or are shared unknowingly, the spread of inaccurate and misleading information on sex work has significant consequences.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) has launched an open consultation on the development of the next Global Fund Strategy. A number of emerging issues in the wider global health environment mean this is a particularly important consultation for sex workers; this is an opportunity to influence the future strategy and ensure that sex workers’ needs are included, and health inequalities addressed.
This Briefing Note outlines Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the challenges it presents for sex workers and other criminalised populations.
This resource was developed by PROUD, the Dutch union for and by sex workers, and Aidsfonds - Soa Aids Nederland, to explore the extent to which sex workers in the Netherlands experience stigma and violence. A total of 308 sex workers participated through questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions from across the country, engaged in various types of sex work.
MSMGF, NSWP, INPUD, GATE, IRTG, GNP+ and ICW published this resource which concludes with a call to action for renewed commitment to HIV primary prevention strategies that are proactive, address upstream factors, and re-center communities most impacted by HIV. The resource and call to action pushes for HIV and other sexual health services that are led by or done with the community.
This NSWP briefing note provides information about the United States’ reinstatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule, a policy that bans awarding certain forms of US global health funds to Non-US organisations that perform, actively give information about, or promote the legalisation of abortion.
Asia Catalyst has published their report The Condom Quandary: A Study of the Impact of Law Enforcement Practices on Effective HIV Prevention among Male, Female, and Transgender Sex Workers in China. Asia Catalyst conducted 74 in-depth interviews with male, female, and transgender sex workers, 18 interviews with key informants, and 517 responses to a survey questionnaire. The research was conducted in three major Chinese cities. The report found that using condoms as evidence of sex work violates the human rights of sex workers.
The briefing paper Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for People Who Inject Drugs: Community Voices on Pros, Cons, and Concerns outlines the results of a global consultation by the International Network of People who Use Drugs on PrEP. Approximately 75 people from 33 different countrires participated in the consultation.
In New Zealand, the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003. Its purpose is to decriminalise prostitution. Following the Act, the Department of Labour, in cooperation with the New Zealand Prostitues Collective (NZPC), developed the Occupational Health & Safety guidelines for the sex industry. This article looks at the development and effects of the New Zealand approach. It was written by members of the NZPC and was published as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.
Sex workers are often talked about as facing high rates of violence, significant exposure to STIs, as well as work-related psychological stress. Yet even as sex workers are called ‘at risk’ by researchers and health professionals, their health needs are unaddressed or unknown in many conventional health care settings. Peer-led health services provider Persist researched sex workers' experiences and with health services, as well as and what sex workers themselves wanted.
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 article explores the origins, use and meaning of the term ‘sex work’. It is written by sex worker and PhD student Elena Jeffreys and was published in Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.
This Policy Brief is a short summary of evidence for action drawn from: The Right(s) Evidence: Sex Work, Violence and HIV in Asia - A Multi-Country Study and recent key studies and guidance including The Lancet Special Series on Sex work and HIV and the WHO Consolidated Guidance for K
INPUD’s Drug User Peace Initiative created the following resource, A War on Women who Use Drugs. This resource argues that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ is, in reality, a war on people who use drugs, with certain groups being subject to disproportionate abuse, human rights violations, stigma, and police attention. The resource documents the disproportionate harm of the war on drugs to women of colour, young women, poor women, and female sex workers. The resource pays particular attention to female sex workers, describing how female sex workers who use drugs suffer from double discrimination, stigma and criminalisation which in turn increase risks of abuse, violence, STIs and alienation from service provisions.
This publication documents the lessons learned from the process of implementing a four-country research project on sex work and violence through the narratives and reflections of those who participated in the research since its inception in 2011. The publication was commissioned by the Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalization (CASAM) in consultation with APNSW, UNDP, UNFPA and P4P (Asia-Pacific regional offices in Bangkok). Funding for the travel to conduct interviews towards this documentation was provided by UNDP.
The regional report of this multi-country study contains findings and recommendations to address violence experienced by sex workers in Asia. Sex workers experience extreme physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence at work, in health care and custodial settings, in their neighbourhoods and in their homes. This violence denies sex workers their fundamental human rights — to equal protection under the law; protection against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and their right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.