This case study is the third of five case studies that will be published on a yearly basis from 2016-2020. These case studies will monitor and document the impact of international guidelines and policies on sex work that NSWP and NSWP members have helped develop. NSWP will also monitor how members use these international guidelines in local, national and regional advocacy efforts. Examples of international guidelines include the Amnesty International Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers, the Sex Worker Implementation Tool, and the development of the UN Women policy on sex work.
Legislation around sex work can be extremely complex; different legal models exist in different countries and sometimes even within countries. NSWP published a mapping of national legislation used to regulate and criminalise sex work in 208 countries and dependencies, with sub-national legislation included for some countries.
NSWP facilitated a delegation from member organisations to attend the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). This delegation aimed to amplify the voices of sex workers’ rights advocates in a space where fundamental feminists and abolitionist groups often dominate discussions about sex work, which do not reflect the diversity of sex workers’ lived experiences and realities. In this context, the conflation of trafficking and sex work is used to promote policies that undermine the rights of sex workers.
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.
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.
STOPAIDS has published a new position paper supporting the decriminalisation of sex work, designed to support STOPAIDS members to advocate for decriminalisation within their own advocacy and programmes, and support the global sex worker rights movement.
This Briefing Note outlines the problems with the conflation of the term 'sexual exploitation' with sex work, and how this exacerbates harms to sex workers.
Amnesty International has released a new report highlighting the routine use of rape, violence and torture by police to punish women sex workers in the Dominican Republic. The report - ‘If they can have her, why can’t we?’ - uses testimony from 46 Dominican cisgender and transgender women sex workers, and reports them suffering various forms of violence at the hands of police.
This Briefing Note outlines the key areas within social protection systems that must be addressed in order to meet the needs of sex workers.
NSWP submitted a written submission for the CEDAW discussion on the General Recommendation on Trafficking in Women and Girls in the Context of Global Migration as part of the 72nd session, 18th February – 8th March 2019.
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.
Silence on Violence: Improving Safety of Women - the policing of off-street sex work and trafficking in London
This report was written in the run-up to the Olympic Games, held in London 2012 and it considers two overacrhing areas related to womens' safety within sex work: the policing of sex trafficking, and within that the policing for the Olymipics; and the general policing of sex workers. The report focusses on off-street sex work as the evidence shows that it very rarely, if at all, involves trafficked women.
The 20th bulletin of the DMSC, discussing common financial scams, police violence, and the work done by the All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW) to tackle HIV, human rights violations by the police, and the stigma that prevents sex workers from accessing services.
The article explores the policy underpinning Sweden’s 1999 ban on the purchase of sexual services in the context of the social and health service sectors and the way that these sectors interact with sex workers. It argues that the rationale behind the sex purchase ban is difficult to reconcile with social policy outwith the 'merits' of criminal justice.
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.