Resources

By recognising sex workers as experts and meaningfully involving them in all policies, programmes, discussions, and decisions which affect their lives, allies can play a crucial role advancing sex workers’ human rights and supporting sex worker-led organisations. At the same time, allies can also undermine, invisibilise, and exclude sex workers – whether intended or not – when these principles are not upheld.

The right to participation in public and political life is enshrined in international human rights law. Broadly, ‘public life’ refers to the realm in which political processes and activities occur. Participation in public life can be formal or informal, taking place from the grassroots to global levels. Through diverse forms of engagement in public life, sex workers have successfully influenced policies, programmes, practices, and discussions which affect their lives.

Misinformation on sex work has flourished for centuries, fuelled by age-old stereotypes, myths, and moral judgments which continue to shape policies and public opinions. Whether falsehoods are disseminated to deliberately deceive, or are shared unknowingly, the spread of inaccurate and misleading information on sex work has significant consequences.

2020 is the 25 year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). This Briefing Note outlines the Beijing+25 review process, how sex workers have engaged in this process thus far, and the priorities for inclusion in Beijing+25 actions.

True progress towards gender equality, gender justice and fulfilment of women’s human rights must be inclusive of women in all their diversity, including sex workers. Sex workers face intersecting forms of criminalisation, discrimination and marginalisation, which cannot be addressed in isolation. 

This Briefing Note outlines the key areas within social protection systems that must be addressed in order to meet the needs of sex workers.

Jorge Flores-Aranda, Jonathan Bacon, and Claude Poisson provide an overview of the Sex Work Programme at Rézo, an organisation for men who have sex with men in Montréal, Canada. They argue male sex workers demonstrate resilience and resistence through the publication of the magazine the “Cowboy Urbain”. This article was published as a part of Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience.

In Kampala, Uganda, there is a large network of sex worker-led organisations that unite under the umbrella organisation Uganda Harmonized Rights Alliance (UHRA). Paula Pönkänen and Hanna Jörneus argue that sex work organising in Uganda is a great example of how sex workers develop and implement their own programming. They provide an overview of sex worker-led programming in Kampala.

A new public health context to understand male sex work

Researching male sex work offers insight into the sexual lives of men and women while developing a more realistic appreciation for the changing issues associated with male sex work. This type of research is important because it not only reflects a growing and diversifying consumer demand for male sex work, but also because it enables the construction of knowledge that is up-to-date with changing ideas around sex and sexualities.

A series of behavioural-biological surveys in 2008 and 2011 in four districts of Karnataka found that mobilising female sex workers is central to effective HIV prevention programming. Defining community mobilisation exposure as low, medium or high, the study revealed female sex workers with high exposure to community mobilisation are:

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Since 2003, US government funding to address the HIV and AIDS pandemic has been subject to an anti-prostitution clause. This clause requires aid recipients to adopt an organizational policy opposing sex work and requires them to keep away from the “promotion of prostitution”. Simultaneously, the efficacy of some HIV prevention efforts for sex work in areas receiving US government funding has diminished. This article seeks to explain the unintended yet adverse effects of the implementation of the pledge through case stories.

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This resource is a briefing on why the organisation - the American Jewish World Service - fund sex worker rights organisations, but it is also a very effective introduction to the concept of sex worker rights, and the sex worker rights movement. It disccuses who sex workers are, and what is sex work, the rights of sex workers in places where sex work is illegal, and introduces a rights-based approach.

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'Criminalising Condoms' details the experiences of sex workers and outreach services across six countries (Kenya, Namibia, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States). It finds that where any degree of criminalisation exists (whether of sex workers themselves, or of activities relating to sex work), condoms are used as evidence of sex work. This forces sex workers to choose between carrying safer sex supplies, thus attracting the deleterious attentions of the police, or working without condoms in the hope that the police will refrain from harassment - but also without the supplies that would protect them from HIV.

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This summary, written under the aegis of the Center for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalisation (CASAM), presents the preliminary results of the first pan-India survey on sex workers. These preliminary findings have been developed for an event in Mumbai on 30 April 2011. The authors appreciate the opportunity to discuss their research with an audience of critical stakeholders. A report which provides their final analysis and data relating to male, trans sex workers, sexuality, stigma and discrimination as well as the 0.5% of 15-17 year olds in this sample will be published later in the year. For the final report please contact info@sangram.org.

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This is an essay on the construction of place as it relates to the motivations for women to leave the places of their birth in search of new places to live and work.

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This paper is a response to and analysis of the perspective of abolitionist feminists from a sex worker rights-based perspective.

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In response to the traditional emphasis on the rights, interests, and well-being of individual research subjects, there has been growing attention focused on the importance of involving communities in research development and approval.

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Sex workers are frequently omitted from discussions about the links between criminalisation, marginalisation, and increased HIV transmission. At the IAS 2010 conference in Vienna, substantial attention was focused on the negative impacts that criminalisation has on men who have sex with men, injection drug users, and people living with HIV—but very little on its effects on sex workers. Few outside of the Global Village explicitly called for decriminalisation of sex work or mentioned that laws criminalizing HIV transmission and exposure exacerbate the damage already being done to sex workers' health and rights. This article explores this omission, how other hard-hit constituencies have struggled for their place on the HIV/AIDS advocacy agenda, and why the HIV/AIDS field should be actively collaborating with sex workers' rights organisations, particularly on anti-criminalisation work.

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An analysis on indoor sex work settings in seven European cities and a manual on examples of good practices in the work with sex workers. The manual has two objectives: To provide an analysis on local level of the indoor prostitution scene, and to present examples of good practice for service providers regarding the implementation of new outreach methodologies in order to encourage a broader development of comprehensive indoor outreach services.

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This report presents the expert opinions of sex workers and their experiences working within the current legal framework. The affidavits highlight many ways in which Canada’s sex trade laws worsen the already harmful conditions under which sex workers live, add to the stigma of their employment and social position, and support the inference that sex workers are less worthy of value than other members of society. Given this evidence, it is argued that the laws violate the expression, liberty, security and equality provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is found that these violations cannot be justified in a free and democratic society. This report also puts forward recommendations for law reform in Canada.

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