Resources

Misinformation about sex work and sex workers has long served as a tool for politicians, religious leaders, fundamental feminists and abolitionist groups, and anti-trafficking organisations to advance anti-sex work agendas.

Misinformation about sex work and sex workers has long served as a tool for politicians, religious leaders, fundamental feminists and abolitionist groups, and anti-trafficking organisations to advance anti-sex work agendas. The conflation of sex work with trafficking and exploitation is at the root of misinformation on sex work. ‘End Demand’ models that criminalise sex workers’ clients, ‘raid and rescue’ operations, and ‘exit’ and ‘rehabilitation’ services further deny the diverse lived experiences of sex workers while obscuring true victims of trafficking.

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.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Policy Brief: COVID-19 and Sex Workers/ Sex Worker-led Organisations. It provides an overview of the full Policy Brief, and provides key recommendations based on important lessons learned throughout the pandemic. 

You can download this 5-page resource above. This resource is available in English, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

As a criminalised population, sex workers have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, often living in precarious economic situations and excluded from social protection systems. This policy brief includes feedback directly from sex worker-led organisations and sex workers on their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact upon access to services, supplies of HIV treatment, and prevention commodities.

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.

NSWP welcomes reports that the online platform OnlyFans has reversed its decision to ban content containing “sexually-explicit conduct” on its website from October 2021, after the backlash the announcement received from its users. The plan would have resulted in a severe loss of income for many sex workers, including those who have moved online to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for whom OnlyFans has become a main source of income as the pandemic continues.

This is a summary of NSWP's Consensus Statement on Sex Work, Human Rights, and the Law. The Consensus Statement is issued on behalf of NSWP members and the sex workers they represent including sex workers of all genders, class, race, ethnicity, health status, age, nationality, citizenship, language, education levels, disabilities, and many other factors.

NSWP member organisation the English Collective of Prostitutes and Dr Laura Connelly from the University of Salford have published new research that looks at EU Migrant Sex Work in the UK Post-Referendum.  

The research, conducted in 2019, shows that violence, xenophobia and threats of deportation against migrant sex workers from the European Union have risen since the EU Referendum.

Key findings from the research include:

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.

This animation looks at sex work through a labour framework, and advocates for the recognition of sex work as work. Where sex work is criminalised, sex workers’ workplaces are often excluded from national labour laws. 

The Sex Work as Work animation is a new tool for sex workers' advocacy worldwide. It was designed and created by Smo Sienkiewicz.

The Consensus Statement details eight fundamental rights that sex worker-led groups from around the world identify as crucial targets for their activism and advocacy. Following a global consultation with members, the NSWP Consensus Statement reaffirms NSWP ’s global advocacy platform for sex work, human rights and the law. 

The Consensus Statement animation is a new tool for sex workers' advocacy worldwide. It was designed and created by Smo Sienkiewicz.

This infographic looks at sex work through a labour framework, and advocates for the recognition of sex work as work. Where sex work is criminalised, sex workers’ workplaces are often excluded from national labour laws. 

The  Sex Work as Work infographic is a new tool for sex workers' advocacy worldwide. It was designed and created by Smo Sienkiewicz.

The Consensus Statement details eight fundamental rights that sex worker-led groups from around the world identify as crucial targets for their activism and advocacy. Following a global consultation with members, the NSWP Consensus Statement reaffirms NSWP ’s global advocacy platform for sex work, human rights and the law. 

The Consensus Statement infographic is a new tool for sex workers' advocacy worldwide. It was designed and created by Smo Sienkiewicz.

From: PRay@amnesty.org
Subject: Guatemala - LGBT activist shot, witness in danger
Category: PUBLIC
Date: 21 December 2005
AI Index: AMR 34/044/2005
UA 325/05

Fear for Safety — Guatemala

LGBT activist shot, witness in danger

Sulma (legal name Kevin Josue Alegria Robles) Other transvestite sex workers in Guatemala City Other members of the Organizacion de Apoyo a una Sexualidad Integral frente al SIDA, Integral Sexuality AIDS Support Organisation (OASIS)

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Stigma still the major barrier for an effective HIV/AIDS response

By Shyamala Ashok, India

After a great trauma and toil in loosing one of our committed peer educators for sex workers and most of all a young friend of ours with the HIV status, a member of the women's positive network in Pondicherry, I have tried to illustrate the case for an analysis as below.

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From:Melissa Hope

Date:September 13, 2005 11:48:42 AM EDT
To:bmcserieseditor@biomedcentral.com, editorial@biomedcentral.com, info@biomedcentral.com
Cc:Lori Heise , brachlis@ccnm.edu, Kumanan.Wilson@uhn.on.ca, sosingh@jhsph.edu, pwu@ccnm.edu, elainem.wong@gmail.com, emills@ccnm.edu
Subject:Letter in response to Mills et al's "Media reporting of tenofovir trials in Cambodia and Cameroon"

To the editor:

Mills et al("Media reporting of tenofovir trials in Cambodia and Cameroon" BMC International Health and Human Rights 2005, 5:6, 24 August 24, 2005) claim in their first sentence that PREP trials were "closed due to activist pressure on host country governments". Activists worked to improve trial conditions, which would have been a real victory. The reason these trials were closed was that researchers did not meet with or meet the needs of participants. This lack of engagement with participants is why participants became activists and reached out to their international support networks and the media.

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This report focuses on indoor sex work primarily because, while these sex workers are largely invisible, they face many of the same problems as the more visible street-based prostitutes. The stereotypes of indoor sex workers encompass only extremes of either wealth and glamour or coercion and violence. The true picture reveals a more nuanced reality—the majority of indoor sex workers in this study live surprisingly precarious lives, and encounter a high level of exactly the same problems faced by street-based sex workers, including violence, constant fear of police interference, and a lack of substantive support services. Finding concrete and reality-based solutions to the needs of this invisible, vulnerable, and marginalised community is imperative to helping them create safe and stable lives.

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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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