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 2015, NSWP member Silver Rose submitted this shadow report to the CEDAW committee review of the Russian Federation. The shadow report is based on information collected by Silver Rose during their day-to-day work with sex workers in St. Petersburg, Silver Rose documentation of human rights abuses, and analysis of media representations across Russia.
Public Association Amelia, the only organisation that provides services to sex workers, has published their report Documenting Human Rights Abuse in the Republic of Kazakhstan with financial support from SWAN. The report is about sex work, violence, and HIV in Kazakhstan. It describes the violence experienced by sex workers and how this increases the vulnerability of sex workers to STIs.
The National Empowerment Network for Persons Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK), the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA), the Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) and the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) have published their report Speaking Out: Personal Testimonies of Rights Violations Experienced by Sex Workers in Kenya. This report focuses on human rights violations among female sex workers living with HIV. It is based on a literature review and interviews conducted in May 2014 among 30 sex workers living with HIV in six counties: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Machakos, Kisumu, and Busia.
Kenyan sex workers continue to suffer human rights violations. Sex workers also bear a disproportionately large burden of HIV. This could be significantly reduced by a rights-based approach to their health needs. This research by GNP+ focuses on the human rights violations that female sex workers living with HIV face when they access healthcare services. It also highlights violations by law enforcement officers that impact on sex workers’ vulnerability to and ability to manage HIV.
This ICRSE briefing paper explores the diverse experiences and realities of LGBT sex workers and the intersection of LGBT rights and sex workers’ rights. It also calls upon the LGBT movement to build an alliance with sex workers and their organisations and actively support sex workers’ rights and the decriminalisation of sex work.
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.