‘Social protection’ refers to measures designed to prevent and address situations which negatively affect people’s well-being, as well as measures which reduce vulnerability and facilitate social and economic stability. Sex workers are frequently viewed as requiring protection due to the predominant misconception of sex workers as ‘victims’ of trafficking and exploitation.
Sex workers were among the hardest hit at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be impacted by this global public health crisis. The challenges that sex workers faced before COVID-19, as a result of criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, were all exacerbated by the pandemic.
The struggles for sex workers’ and women’s rights are innately interconnected. Worldwide, most sex workers are women, who share challenges in their fight for justice, equality, and the right to be free from violence, stigma, and discrimination. Nevertheless, within the women’s movement there have been obstacles to acceptance of and meaningful engagement with sex worker-led organisations, ranging from ideological opposition to outright abuse.
Sex Worker-led Organisations’ Engagement with International Policies and Guidelines: A Review of Policy Impacts from 2016–2020
This case study is the fourth and final instalment in a series produced by NSWP over a five-year period. Spanning the years 2015 to 2019, three previous case studies documented the role of NSWP and its member organisations in the development, implementation, and monitoring of rights-affirming international guidelines and policies on sex work. These case studies also examined the usage and impact of international guidelines and policies in local, national, and regional sex worker advocacy.
In most countries, sex workers are subject to exploitative and often unsafe working conditions, and do not benefit from the same labour regulations and protections as other workers.
Community Guides are the result of desk research and a global e-consultation, and aim to provide simple summaries of NSWP’s Smart Guides, further detail and references can be found in the accompanying Smart Guides.
In most countries, sex workers are subject to exploitative and often unsafe working conditions, and don’t benefit from the same labour regulations and protections as other workers. This smart guide sets out how sex work fits within international labour standards, and in particular the Decent Work Agenda. It is intended as a tool for sex workers’ rights organisations to use when campaigning for labour rights as fundamental to sex workers’ rights in their respective countries.
New Zealand is the only country to have decriminalised sex work at a national level, alongside statelevel legislation in New South Wales (NSW) and the Northern Territory (NT) in Australia. This Guide provides an overview those three systems, and the key advocacy actions that were pivotal to achieving law reform, as a tool that sex workers and allies can use to advocate for a rights-affirming approach to sex work.
This Smart Guide provides an overview of existing sex work legal models and details the processes that have been used to develop legislative models that respect and protect sex workers’ human and labour rights. It aims to provide sex workers’ rights organisations with ideas and strategies that they can adapt to their own legal framework and context, to use in their advocacy and campaigning in their own countries.
This Smart Person’s Guide is a tool to support sex workers and their allies in advocating for the recognition of sex workers’ expertise. Sex workers’ have an indispensable knowledge of, and experience with the structural, legal, institutional, socio-economic and cultural barriers which impede their human and labour rights. Evidence shows that meaningful involvement of sex workers is critical to success in tackling inequality and inequity.
You can download this 30-page Smart Guide above. It is available in English, Russian, Chinese, French, and Spanish.
Measuring the Impacts of Amnesty International’s Resolution on Protecting the Human Rights of Sex Workers
In August 2015, the International Council of Amnesty International voted in favour of a resolution to develop and adopt a policy that protects the human rights of sex workers, including full decriminalisation of all aspects of consensual sex work between adults. This case study reflects on the process towards Amnesty International's resolution, its impact so far and on the roles of NSWP and NSWP member organisations in this process.
This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA). The SWAA is a ground-breaking learning programme for community empowerment and capacity building, led by and for sex workers. The Academy brings together national teams of sex workers from across Africa to develop organising skills, learn best practices, stimulate national sex worker movements, and strengthen the regional network.
The Smart Sex Worker’s Guide to SWIT provides a short summary of the key points in Sex Worker Implemetation Tool (SWIT). The Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT) offers practical guidance on effective HIV and STI programming for sex workers. It provides evidence for the necessity of decriminalisation of sex work, the involvement of sex workers in developing policy, and the empowerment and self-determination of sex work communities as a fundamental part of the fight against HIV. This resource is based on the WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS and NSWP 2012 recommendations on HIV and Sex Work. The guide can be used by sex workers and sex worker organisations who are designing or running programmes for sex workers. It may also be useful as an advocacy tool when advocating for rights-based services.