Resources

Despite the global trend of increasing mobility, migrant workers are still stigmatised and silenced – in politics and media alike. Additionally, migrant sex workers are painted as either victims or criminals in discourses that conflate sex work with human trafficking and deny sex workers the right to migrate. Their human rights are often ignored in favour of driving broader political agendas to restrict migration and criminalise sex work. 

Despite the global trend of increasing mobility, migrant workers are still stigmatised and silenced – in politics and media alike. Additionally, migrant sex workers are painted as either victims or criminals in discourses that conflate sex work with human trafficking and deny sex workers the right to migrate. Their human rights are often ignored in favour of driving broader political agendas to restrict migration and criminalise sex work.

The Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT) offers practical guidance on effective HIV and STI programming for sex workers.

Legislation around sex work can be extremely complex and different legal models exist in different countries, and sometimes even within countries. While understanding the written laws and regulations is important, it does not provide a complete picture of the impact of sex work laws on the lives of sex workers. To understand this, it is essential to understand how the laws are interpreted, enforced, and implemented on the ground.

NSWP have written an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Government of Spain, and the leaders of all political parties in the Congress of Deputies regarding the legislative proposals to amend the Spanish Penal Code and introduce new provisions regarding sex work. The proposed reforms include amending the Penal Code to extend the punishment of third parties to include non-coercive relationships and decouple it from exploitation and consent, violating sex workers’ right to housing and the security of sex workers, many of whom live and work in the same place.

Download this resource: NSWP Open Letter, NSWP - 2022

Sex workers worldwide are overwhelmingly excluded from social protection schemes and government emergency responses put in place for other workers. Criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, and the failure to recognise sex work as work compound sex workers’ exclusion and foster economic insecurity. Sex work must be recognised as work and all aspects decriminalised to ensure that sex workers can access the same social protections, emergency financial support, and labour rights as all other workers.

This infographic summarises the Briefing Paper on Sex Workers’ Lack of Access to Justice.

Sex workers around the world face a wide range of barriers to accessing justice, both as victims of crime and when charged with crimes. Since sex work is widely criminalised, most sex workers are denied access to the benefits and rights afforded to other workers under labour laws and face the risk of criminalisation, detention, deportation and legal sanction.

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.