Resources

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

This resource is a Community Guide to the Sex Work as Work policy brief. It summarises international frameworks that address work and the right to work, and particularly, sex work as work. It shows the benefits of viewing sex work as work through a labour approach. It also summarises the consultation with NSWP members about what decent work would look like in the context of sex work.

This global policy brief 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. This creates an environment where sex workers have no option but to accept exploitative working conditions. As a result, the struggle for the recognition of sex work as work is closely tied to the struggle for decriminalisation. This policy brief outlines the benefits of looking at sex work through a labour approach. A community guide is also available. You can also view and download an infographic summarising this paper.

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

Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and French. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here

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

NSWP, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, emphatically condemns the actions of the USA’s Department of Homeland Security and federal prosecutors in New York for the raid on the offices of Rentboy.com and the arrests of seven of its staff members.

Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and Spanish. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here.

Download this resource: R4SW 2015_issue14
Theme: Labour

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.

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. A 12 page summary of the Consensus Statement is also available.

Download this resource: ConStat PDF EngFull.pdf

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.

This document has been updated following discussions at the consensus meeting on the need to highlight explicitly the responses provided on collective empowerment. 

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) oversaw a civil society consultation of sex workers commissioned by the WHO to gather feedback on their proposed guidelines for evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in low- and middle-income countries.

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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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The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) oversaw a civil society consultation of sex workers commissioned by the WHO to gather feedback on their proposed guidelines for evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in low- and middle-income countries.

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This is a summary of the Sex Work is Not Trafficking briefing paper. It explains how sex work is conflated with trafficking; the legal framework; how demand for sex work is conflated with trafficking; the dangers of conflating trafficking with sex work, its impacts on sex workers’ lives and work; the impact on sex worker programming; and offers some recommendations for policy makers, donors and for civil society.