Resources

Today marks the 13th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. For thirteen years, sex workers have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers.

The issues faced by sex workers vary from region to region. These differences are due to different laws, social and cultural contexts, but one common issue faced by all sex workers is their vulnerability to and experience of violence.

This global statement draws attention to the fact that all sex workers are vulnerable to violence because of the criminalisation and legal oppression of sex work, stigma, and discrimination. This vulnerability to violence is increased for sex workers living with HIV, sex workers who use drugs, transgender sex workers, migrant sex workers, and sex workers that are part of other marginalised groups.

Theme: Violence

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe have published the briefing paper Surveilled. Exploited. Deported. Rights Violations Against Migrant Sex Workers in Europe and Central Asia. It explores how criminalisation of migration, criminalisation of sex work and lack of economic and employment opportunities make migrant sex workers vulnerable to exploitation, violence and other human rights violations. It also provides key recommendations to ensure the rights of migrant sex workers are protected.

Midnight Blue has published their report Cases of Arrested Transgender Sex Workers which documents the human rights abuses faced by transgender sex workers in detention. Up until June 2016, Midnight Blue has monitoried the cases of 40 transgender sex workers who were arrested in Hong Kong. Many transgender sex workers in Hong Kong are migrant sex workers, and after their detention is complete they are often deported. Midnight Blue is demanding the criminal justice system review the human rights abuses against transgender sex workers in detention in Hong Kong.

Theme: Violence

The Women's Legal Centre has published their report on Police Abuse of Sex Workers in South Africa. The Women's Legal Centre is an organisation working to ensure that women in South Afica can live free from violence in safe housing, are free to own property, are empowered to ensure their own reporductive health rights, and are able to work in a safe and equal environment. Their report shows that 414 sex workers reported various types of violence perpetrated by police between 2011 and 2015.

Theme: Violence

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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Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and French. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here

NSWP is calling on the Turkish government, Turkish police, and the Turkish justice system to take urgent action to uphold the human rights of male, female, and transgender sex workers. Sex workers have the same right to protection from the law and access to justice as other people. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect without discrimination. The occupation and gender identity of sex workers should never be used to deny access to justice, health services, or social services.

According to a 2015 survey by Transgender Europe entitled Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide Project, 79 percent of transgender sex workers interviewed in Turkey reported experiencing police harassment. According to the Project for the Mapping of Violence Against and Legal Support for Trans Sex Workers, one in every two sex workers has experienced violence, and 50 percent of this violence was perpetrated by the police.

Transgender sex workers in Turkey are particularly vulnerable to violence, including from the police. In May 2015, NSWP published an article about seven transgender women who were violently attacked in different cities across Turkey. Two days after these attacks, more than 100 people gathered in Ankara to protest about violence against transgender people in Turkey.

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This resource builds on INCITE's substantial background in issues faced by women of colour, criminalised or street-based communities, and queer and trans youth, particularly around police and state violence. It focuses on how "police violence against sex workers is not perceived by mainstream organisations as either police brutality, or violence against women, when it is clearly a manifestation of both".

You can download this 4 page PDF resource above. this resource is in English.

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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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Source: AsiaCatalyst.org
 
The 2010 "Strike Hard Campaign" (police crackdowns) put in place a zero tolerance policy on sex work, gambling and drugs all across China. While many brothels and popular clubs were closed ultimately sex workers continued work out in more remote areas. This geographic shift cut people off from essential health services, HIV/AIDS education, and even funeral services for women who die while cut off from their families.

Here in its first major report The China Sex Worker Organization Network Forum trained its members to document the effects of the crackdown.
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You can download this 12 page PDF resource above. This resource is in English.

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This is a summary of the Sex Work is Not Trafficking briefing paper. It explains how sex work is conflated with trafficking; the legal framework; how demand for sex work is conflated with trafficking; the dangers of conflating trafficking with sex work, its impacts on sex workers’ lives and work; the impact on sex worker programming; and offers some recommendations for policy makers, donors and for civil society. 

This briefing paper explains how sex work is conflated with trafficking; the legal framework; how demand for sex work is conflated with trafficking; the dangers of conflating trafficking with sex work, its impacts on sex workers’ lives and work; the impact on sex worker programming; and offers some recommendations for policy makers, donors and for civil society. A summary is also available.

In this guide, GAATW review the literature from past sporting events, and find that they do not cause increases in trafficking for prostitution. The guide takes a closer look at why this unsubstantiated idea still captures the imagination of politicians and some media, and offers stakeholders a more constructive approach to address trafficking beyond short-term events. This guide will help stakeholders quickly correct misinformation about trafficking, develop evidence-based anti-trafficking responses, and learn what worked and what did not in past host cities. 

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This is the English version of the Note for Record of the September 2011 UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work

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This report documents a meeting entitled "Ain't I A Woman? A Global Dialogue between the Sex Workers Rights Movement and the Stop Violence against Women Movement" from 12-14 March 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The report features the presentations from many  speakers in the sex workers' rights movement including Cheryl Overs, Meena Seshu, Ruth Morgan Thomas, Anna-Louise Crago, Kaythi Win, Hua Sittipham Boonyapisomparn, Swapna Gayen and Meenakshi Kamble.

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Theme: Violence

This report reflects the voices and opinions of 140 participants, including resource persons and sex workers, at the first Asia and the Pacific Regional Consultation on HIV and Sex Work, held on October 2010 in Pattaya, Thailand. It covers critical components of the HIV and sex work responses, and four key areas – namely, creating an enabling legal and policy environment, ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights, eliminating violence against sex workers, and addressing migration and mobility in the context of HIV and sex work.

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In their work and lives, sex workers experience disproportionate levels of violence including police abuse, sexual assault, rape, harrassment, extortion, and abuse from clients, agents (pimps), sex establishment owners, intimate partners, local residents, and public authorities.  Violence against sex workers is a violation of their human rights, and increases sex workers' vulnerability to HIV.

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Sex workers are highly mobile populations, moving both within and accross national boundaries, as either documented or undocumented labour.  However, labour laws rarely, if ever, offer protection and benefits to local or migrant sex workers.  Migration and mobility factors that can significantly increase the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV and sexually transmitted infections, in large part due to their undocumented status including lack of work permits, poor working conditions in some cases, lack of access to health care, occupational health and safety standards, and other forms of labour protection. 

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