Resources

In most countries, sex workers are subject to exploitative and often unsafe working conditions, and do not benefit from the same labour regulations and protections as other workers.

Community Guides are the result of desk research and a global e-consultation, and aim to provide simple summaries of NSWP’s Smart Guides, further detail and references can be found in the accompanying Smart Guides.

In most countries, sex workers are subject to exploitative and often unsafe working conditions, and don’t benefit from the same labour regulations and protections as other workers. This smart guide sets out how sex work fits within international labour standards, and in particular the Decent Work Agenda. It is intended as a tool for sex workers’ rights organisations to use when campaigning for labour rights as fundamental to sex workers’ rights in their respective countries.

Contents include:

This resource was developed by PROUD, the Dutch union for and by sex workers, and Aidsfonds - Soa Aids Nederland, to explore the extent to which sex workers in the Netherlands experience stigma and violence. A total of 308 sex workers participated through questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions from across the country, engaged in various types of sex work.

This ‘Smart Sex Workers’ Guide’ provides an overview of the advocacy tools and interventions used by sex worker-led organisations globally to combat violence against sex workers. It builds on the guidance provided in ‘Addressing Violence Against Sex Workers’, chapter 2 of the Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT). This resource may be useful with designing programmes, tools and other approaches to addressing violence.

Theme: Violence

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.

Theme: Labour

This large, Canadian research explores the perceived control and power within interactions between sex workers and their clients. Sex workers and clients report that most of their interactions are free of conflict and are characterised by relatively symmetrical dynamics of control and power. The ability to negotiate over the terms and conditions of the commercial sexual services offered and sought before meeting in person is linked to workers feeling more control over condom use and feeling more empowered compared to those whose first encounter with clients is face-to-face. This ability to clearly advertise services allows workers to more explicitly state what is and is not being offered so that there is less confusion over expectations, something  that most clients appear to appreciate  and desire for themselves.

This research article explores how the sex workers’ rights movement can build solidarity with other sectors of intimate labour, specifically domestic workers, in its fight to have sex work recognised as work. The article builds upon the notion of sex work as work in the context of a labour rights movement that can change the mechanics of organising decentralised labour.

Theme: Labour

This community-based research by the Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) is about sex workers’ experiences of state and non-state violence, and hindered attempts to access justice in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The study was undertaken in sixteen countries of our region, with local research teams comprised of sex workers and allies joining efforts. It provides an insight on how stigma and the criminalization of sex work enables daily violence and repression that sex workers face from police and non-state actors. This entails barriers to accessing legal aid and justice, as well as harm reduction, health or social services.

Theme: Violence

The regional report of this multi-country study contains findings and recommendations to address violence experienced by sex workers in Asia.  Sex workers experience extreme physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence at work, in health care and custodial settings, in their neighbourhoods and in their homes. This violence denies sex workers their fundamental human rights — to equal protection under the law; protection against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and their right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

 A “working paper” prepared as background to Building on the Evidence: An International Symposium on the Sex Industry in Canada

This paper is a result of a research programme in Canada’s sex industry: workers and their intimate partners, managers and clients.

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This resource builds on INCITE's substantial background in issues faced by women of colour, criminalised or street-based communities, and queer and trans youth, particularly around police and state violence. It focuses on how "police violence against sex workers is not perceived by mainstream organisations as either police brutality, or violence against women, when it is clearly a manifestation of both".

You can download this 4 page PDF resource above. this resource is in English.

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In 2011, the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) commissioned Kaitiaki to undertake an in-depth investigation to understand better the issues facing migrant sex workers in New Zealand especially with regard to occupational health and safety, and reproductive health.

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Theme: Labour

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.

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Theme: Labour

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".

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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.

'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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Source: rightswork.org

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.

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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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