The struggles for sex workers’ and women’s rights are innately interconnected. Worldwide, most sex workers are women, who share challenges in their fight for justice, equality, and the right to be free from violence, stigma, and discrimination. Nevertheless, within the women’s movement there have been obstacles to acceptance of and meaningful engagement with sex worker-led organisations, ranging from ideological opposition to outright abuse.
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This case study is the third of five case studies that will be published on a yearly basis from 2016-2020. These case studies will monitor and document the impact of international guidelines and policies on sex work that NSWP and NSWP members have helped develop. NSWP will also monitor how members use these international guidelines in local, national and regional advocacy efforts. Examples of international guidelines include the Amnesty International Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers, the Sex Worker Implementation Tool, and the development of the UN Women policy on sex work.
This case study is the first of five case studies that will be published on a yearly basis from 2016-2020. These case studies will monitor and document the impact of international guidelines and policies on sex work that NSWP and NSWP members have helped develop. NSWP will also monitor how members use these international guidelines in local, national and regional advocacy efforts. Examples of international guidelines include the Amnesty International Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers, the Sex Worker Implementation Tool, and the development of the UN Women policy on sex work.
Performer-Centred Pornography as Sex Workers' Rights: Developing Labour Standards in a Criminalised Context
In Australia, certain sexual acts performed in pornography are deemed offensive and degrading in criminal law. Zahra Stardust demonstrates how performer-producers are resisting government classification and criminal laws by engaging in sex workers' rights activism through creating performer-centered spaces and pioneering best practices labour standards. This article was published as a part of Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience.
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.
Community Mobilisation and Empowerment of Female Sex Workers in Karnataka State, South India: HIV/STI Risk
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:
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.
Managing Sex Work: information for third parties and sex workers in the incall and outcall sectors of the sex industry
The research project 'Rethinking Management in the Adult and Sex Industry', which led to the resource 'Beyond Pimps, Procurers, and Parasites', highlighted to the researchers that far from the demonised and racialised stereotype of the "pimp", third parties in the sex industry have complex, varied and frequently mundane relationships with sex workers. However, unlike in other industries, third party roles are often criminalised, which impacts upon the ability of sex workers to expect or create a safe working environment.
This resource commences by quoting Ronald Weitzer, who notes "the management of prostitution is one of the most invisible aspects of the trade". It goes on to discuss common prohibitionist discourse around sex work, that situates all possible study on the topic on a continuum between deviance and violence, before highlighting that this limited binary is "diametrically opposed to much of the scholarly literature, and, more importantly, to what sex workers are asserting - namely, that sex work is work".
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 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.
This paper, written by Phil Marshall, briefly raises some issues around the demand side of trafficking, initially focusing on demand relating to exploitative labour practices and then discussing issues around demand contributing to exploitation for sexual purposes. It is very much an opinion piece, intended to promote discussion.
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.
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.
Rights Not Rescue: A Report on Female, Male, and Trans Sex Workers' Human Rights in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa
The criminalisation of sex work in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa leaves sex workers vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse, as well as extortion, from law enforcement officers such as police and border guards. Human rights violations and a lack of safe and supportive working conditions render sex workers particularly vulnerable to HIV. These are some of the findings of this report on the health and rights challenges confronted by female, male, and transgender sex workers in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
This paper addresses the persistence of violence against female commercial sex workers in the United States, drawing on the experiences of the Best Practices Policy Project in conducting outreach, research, and relationship building with diverse commercial sex worker stakeholders.
On June 4, 2004, the Assembly Committee on Labour and Employment conducted an informational hearing in response to the recent incidence of HIV among adult industry performers in California.