The Global Fund has established Codes of Conduct which employees, resource recipients, suppliers, Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) members, and governance officials must uphold while carrying out their work. One of the requirements, which applies to all parties under these codes, is to prohibit ‘sexual exploitation.’ Due to widespread conflations of sex work with ‘sexual exploitation,’ however, there is concern that this provision may be misinterpreted to exclude sex workers.
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.
Funding for sex worker-led organisations is shrinking, as has the space for the voices of sex workers, resulting in sex workers having less influence in programmes, policies and other decisions that affect their lives. Civil society organisations and other stakeholders now feel they have the right to funding and advocacy platforms, either because they work with sex workers and are therefore ‘experts’ who can speak for sex workers, or they wish to exclude sex workers’ voices entirely because they refuse to recognise sex workers’ rights as human rights.
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.
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.
This systematic review and meta-analysis, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), has found that sex workers who have experienced 'regressive policing' (including arrest, extortion and violence from police), are three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence. The study examines the impacts of criminalisation on sex workers’ safety, health, and access to services, using data from 33 countries. Sex workers' health and safety was found to be at risk not only in countries where sex work was criminalised, but also in Canada, which has introduced the “Nordic model”, where purchasing sex is specifically criminalised.
Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) has released two complementary analyses on prostitution “diversion” programs (PDPs) in the USA: Diversion from Justice: 'A Rights-Based Analysis of Local ‘Prostitution Diversion Programs’ and their Impacts on People in the Sex Sector in the United States'; and 'Un-Meetable Promises: Rhetoric and Reality in New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts'. One is national in scope and the other focused specifically on New York City programming.
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'.
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 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.
Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and French. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here.
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.
This large, Canadian research explores the perceived control and power within interactions between sex workers and their clients. Sex workers and clients report that most of their interactions are free of conflict and are characterised by relatively symmetrical dynamics of control and power. The ability to negotiate over the terms and conditions of the commercial sexual services offered and sought before meeting in person is linked to workers feeling more control over condom use and feeling more empowered compared to those whose first encounter with clients is face-to-face. This ability to clearly advertise services allows workers to more explicitly state what is and is not being offered so that there is less confusion over expectations, something that most clients appear to appreciate and desire for themselves.
This research investigates sex workers’ opinions on support services in Berlin, Germany. In Berlin, support services for sex workers range from financial, health and legal support to psychosocial counselling and support with issues of migration, etc. Most are carried out by social workers at NGOs targeted at sex workers. While some of these NGOs advocate for sex worker rights, many aim to ‘rescue’ sex workers and to abolish sex work. The researcher concludes there is a discrepancy between support services demand and supply. This article was published in Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.
This articles outlines the benefits and shortcomings of German sex work laws. It also describes the danges of forthcoming revisions to Germany's policies. This article was written by Hydra e.V. and pubished as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.
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.