Resources

In 1999, the Swedish government embarked on an experiment in social engineering1 to end men’s practice of purchasing commercial sexual services. The government enacted a new law criminalizing the purchase (but not the sale) of sex (Swedish Penal Code). It hoped that the fear of arrest and increased public stigma would convince men to change their sexual behaviour. The government also hoped that the law would force the estimated 1,850 to 3,000 women who sold sex in Sweden at that time to find another line of work.

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This research is the first large scale quantitative research on sex workers in Fiji. It has enabled an understanding of the nature and extent of sex work in Fiji, rates of HIV and STI infection among sex workers and their knowledge and behaviour around safer sex practices. This research will compliment valuable insights gained from previous qualitative research. The findings from this research will assist in the appropriate targeting and provision of education, resources and health care services to a group previously defined by UNAIDS as a most-at-risk population.

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This article looks at how legalisation came to the netherlands; what it was intended to do, and what the impact has been on sex workers. In order to answer these lines of enquiry, the article examines what discourses frame the major actors in this debate, starting with a historical overview of Dutch sex work policies throughout the 20th century. Having established the socio-political backdrop of the Netherlands' approach to legalised sex work, the resource discusses how legalisation (or regulationism) "did not solve a number of serious problems in the sex industry".

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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Note: This report has been updated, following agreement with UNAIDS in January 2012 to revisions in the document.  

This resource was officially launched in December 2011 as a separate report from the Advisory Group at the UNAIDS Secretariat in Geneva, during the 29th meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and has now been integrated into the UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work as annexes and published by UNAIDS. 

The 'Hit & Run' report is the result of 12 months of research by Empower's RATSW project, investigates human rights violations against sex workers carried out in the name of 'rescues' under the anti-trafficking laws.

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Source: rightswork.org

This paper, written by Phil Marshall, briefly raises some issues around the demand side of trafficking, initially focusing on demand relating to exploitative labour practices and then discussing issues around demand contributing to exploitation for sexual purposes. It is very much an opinion piece, intended to promote discussion.

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This is an essay on the construction of place as it relates to the motivations for women to leave the places of their birth in search of new places to live and work.

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The Bangkok Call for Justice for Women Migrant Workers

Partners in Change, Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) November 6-8, 2002, Bangkok

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) along with several of its network members recent held a 3-day event on 6-8 November, 2002 in Bangkok. This event, Partners in Change, brought together a number of people from across Asia who have been working from their specific locations to articulate and affirm the human rights framework. This was a unique gathering in that many of our participants belong to the so called 'marginalised groups' — trafficked women, domestic workers and sex workers. However, all of them have rejected 'permanent victimhood', organised themselves, questioned the attitude of mainstream society and policy makers towards them, and claimed their rights as human beings. Partners in Change celebrated and analysed those courageous efforts, and discussed future collaborative strategies.

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Prevention and fight against trafficking in human beings — A European Union strategy since 1996

RAPID The Press and Communication Service of the European Commission
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Each year, at world level, hundreds of thousands of women and children are being moved across international borders by trafficking rings. The European Union has been actively engaged since 1996 in developing a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach towards the prevention of and fight against trafficking in human beings. Here are a few examples of the way this strategy has been implemented over the last four years, going backwards in time.


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The European Union and its Member States generally acknowledge the positive value of international migration when it takes place in a regulated and predictable manner. They are alarmed, however, by irregular migratory movements. Indeed, in the face of the perceived threat posed by this phenomenon, States have introduced a series of measures to deter or prevent migrants from gaining unauthorised entry into their territories. The blanket enforcement of such measures makes it increasingly difficult for refugees and asylum-seekers to secure access to international protection. With this concern in mind, UNHCR must stress that the Action Plan contained in the Commission Communication on a Common Policy on Illegal Immigration and subsequently adopted by the Member States strike a proper balance between migration control priorities and refugee protection imperatives.

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Research for Sex Work 5: Health, HIV and Sex Work - the Influence of Migration and Mobility is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here.

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Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights
and Human Trafficking
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights to the Economic and Social Council.

You can download this 16 page PDF resource above. This resource is in English.

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The Annotated Guide to the new UN Trafficking Protocol is a tool to assist advocates in the development of a human rights framework for national anti-trafficking laws and policies. In December 2000, the UN adopted international instruments to fight transnational organized crime and additional agreements or protocols to combat trafficking in persons, smuggling and firearms.

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This review, rather than addressing the dearth of literature on trafficking prior to 1990, reviewed primarily academic works, research reports, and various organizational publications available on the internet to identify the main parameters of the issue of trafficking and organized crime, as well as suggest some areas in which future research is needed.

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This article documents the experiences and working conditions of women who travel periodically from their countries to Istanbul to undertake sex work, and discusses the policy debates failure to address the poor living conditions of migrant sex workers by addressing abusive and restrictive immigration policies, and by decriminalising undocumented sex work.

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You can download this 9 page PDF resource above. This resource is in English.

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This paper summarises and reports on research involving documenting womens labour migration and occurances of trafficking, focusing on women in Bangladesh, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Kuwait.

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Mentre si continuano a diffondere immagini vittimizzanti delle migranti che lavorano in Europa nell’industria del sesso, tante donne partono per propria scelta e trovano nella prostituzione e nelle altre offerte dell’industria del sesso opportunità di emancipazione o altre mete difficilmente raggiungibili in patria. *Ricerche in un luogo marginato: la geografia dell’esclusione *Le letture sui viaggi *Sradicate o mal situate? Questione di volontà e di ‘opzione’ *Il piacere dei margini *Construzioni sociali del ‘luogo’ delle prostitute *Gli ambienti come luoghi di lavoro *...