Resources

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.

Between 23rd and 27th July 2018, more than 120 sex workers from more than 25 countries attended the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS2018) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The bi-annual International AIDS Conferences are the largest global gathering of HIV academics, implementers, policy makers, people living with HIV and those most affected by HIV, including sex workers.

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.

Empower Foundation has released a new resource library on their website, comprising books, reports, letters and films on a variety of topics linked to sex workers' rights in Thailand. You can access the full set of resources here (most available in English and Thai). 

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.

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.

Download this resource:

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.

Download this resource:

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.

Download this resource:

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.

Download this resource:

This reference text seeks to "clarify terms and illustrate examples of alternatives to the use of criminal law as a response to sex work". It provides capsule definitions - with small case-studies or examples - of what a variety of laws and policies look like in terms of their impact on sex work, covering criminalisation, legalisation, and decriminalisation, along with a mini-discussion of other laws that are used against sex workers, such as the criminalisation of HIV transmission, or immigration enforcement.

Sex workers from KESWA and ASWA in Nairobi staged a protest marking International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on 17th December.  Thousands of sex workers joined with gay activists and organisations to condemn the ‘Kill the Gay, Uganda Bill’ and marched on City Hall. 

Download this resource:

This is NSWP's response to the consultation carried out in Scotland (UK) on the Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex.  

This proposal would make it illegal to purchase sex in Scotland. Rhoda Grant MSP, who carried out the consultation, believes that ‘prostitution in Scotland is a form of sexual violence against women and sexual exploitation.’  She believes that ‘prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanising’ and that ‘the majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants.’

You can download this 1 page PDF document above.  This resource is in English.

Download this resource:

This is the first in an occasional series of papers that will be produced covering a variety of topics. This series will try to provide a global overview for activists, highlighting examples of good practice developed by member organisations and sex worker-led groups across the regions.

This paper is intended to be a ‘living document’ which will be added to as we document further examples from our global membership.

The topic of this first paper is 'Addressing Violence Against Sex Workers' and highlights 12 country examples of interventions to address violence.

You can download this 9 page PDF file above.  This resource is in English.

Download this resource:

Note: This report has been updated, following agreement with UNAIDS in January 2012 to revisions in the document.  

This resource was officially launched in December 2011 as a separate report from the Advisory Group at the UNAIDS Secretariat in Geneva, during the 29th meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and has now been integrated into the UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work as annexes and published by UNAIDS.