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.
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- (-) Legislation and Policy
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To mark International Sex Workers' Day on 2nd June, SWAN published a new briefing paper on Sex Work Legal Frameworks in Central-Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA).
This document is a practical tool for organisations to self-assess whether they meaningfully involve sex workers, and for sex worker-led organisations to assess whether they are meaningfully involved.
This NSWP Briefing Note provides information about the United States’ recent legislation - The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) -that criminalise online platforms used by sex workers for advertising and information sharing, including for safety purposes. The resource provides details on FOSTA/SESTA and the 'End Banking for Human Traffickers Act', which aims to ‘prevent financial transactions involving the proceeds of severe forms of trafficking'.
In 2016, France adopted a law criminalising the clients of sex workers. This report focuses on the impact of this new legislation on the health, rights and living conditions of sex workers in the country.
The full report and 8-page summary of the report are available above in English and French, and on the Médecins du Monde website.
A growing number of countries are considering or implementing sex work law reform focusing on ‘ending demand’, which criminalises the purchase of sexual services. This Policy Brief outlines the impact of ‘end demand’ legislation on the human rights of female sex workers, through research and testimony from NSWP members in countries where paying for sex is criminalised. This document explores how these laws not only fail to promote gender equality for women who sell sex, but actively prevent the realisation of their human rights.
This resource is a Community Guide to the Policy Brief on the Impact of Criminalisation on Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to HIV and Violence. This guide summarises how criminalisation increases sex workers’ vulnerability to violence and HIV, and makes a series of recommendations towards the full decriminalisation of sex work as an integral step to improving the lives of sex workers. The full Policy Brief is available here.
This policy brief examines the impact of laws that criminalise sex work, informed by NSWP members’ submissions to an e-consultation. It examines the impact of criminalisation at three distinct phases: the surveillance and policing of sex workers prior to arrest; arrest and formal involvement of the criminal justice system; and release and return to the community. The paper covers various areas of law and law enforcement practices that disproportionately impact sex workers, including immigration laws, policing of public spaces, anti-LGBTQ laws, HIV criminalisation and religious codes.
This resource is a Community Guide to the Sex Work and Gender Equality policy brief. It highlights the linkages between sex workers’ rights and gender equality. It argues the women’s movement must meaningfully include sex workers as partners. It advocates for a feminism that recognises sex workers’ rights as human rights and highlights shared areas of work under an international human rights framework.
This policy brief highlights the linkages between sex workers’ rights and gender equality. It argues the women’s movement must meaningfully include sex workers as partners. It advocates for a feminism that recognises sex workers’ rights as human rights and highlights shared areas of work under an international human rights framework. Ultimately, there can be no gender equality if sex workers’ human rights are not fully recognised and protected. A community guide is also available.
This resource is a Community Guide to the The Decriminalisation of Third Parties policy brief. It focuses on the human rights violations that occur when third parties are criminalised, and why NSWP and its members advocate for the decriminalisation of third parties.
This global policy brief summarises the research on the decriminalisation of third parties. It sets out in detail why NSWP and its members call for the decriminalisation of third parties. It explores some of the key harms that are caused to sex workers as a result of the criminalisation of third parties. The paper concludes by reviewing available evidence, showing that the decriminalisation of third parties protects sex workers rights, enabling them to challenge abusive and exploitative working conditions and exert greater control over their working environment. A community guide is available here.
This community-based research by the Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) is about sex workers’ experiences of state and non-state violence, and hindered attempts to access justice in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The study was undertaken in sixteen countries of our region, with local research teams comprised of sex workers and allies joining efforts. It provides an insight on how stigma and the criminalization of sex work enables daily violence and repression that sex workers face from police and non-state actors. This entails barriers to accessing legal aid and justice, as well as harm reduction, health or social services.
The Consensus Statement details eight fundamental rights that sex worker-led groups from around the world identify as crucial targets for their activism and advocacy. Following a global consultation with members, the NSWP Consensus Statement reaffirms NSWP ’s global advocacy platform for sex work, human rights and the law. A 12 page summary of the Consensus Statement is also available.