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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Sex Worker-led Organisations’ Engagement with International Policies and Guidelines: A Review of Policy Impacts from 2016–2020
This case study is the fourth and final instalment in a series produced by NSWP over a five-year period. Spanning the years 2015 to 2019, three previous case studies documented the role of NSWP and its member organisations in the development, implementation, and monitoring of rights-affirming international guidelines and policies on sex work. These case studies also examined the usage and impact of international guidelines and policies in local, national, and regional sex worker advocacy.
This case study will describe the journey of sex worker-led organisations in gaining knowledge about the Global Fund and its national processes to ensure the meaningful involvement of sex workers in 2020 Global Fund funding proposals development, and explores the barriers that sex workers face.
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.
NSWP provides technical support to regional sex worker networks in line with the needs identified by each regional network. This includes face-to-face technical support around organisational development to the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), and the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN), in addition to virtual technical support provided to other regional networks.
Enhancing sex workers’ capacity to engage with Global Fund processes: Evaluating NSWP’s 2018 capacity building programme
This case study focuses on the NSWP’s Global Fund capacity development programme for regional and national sex worker-led organisations, and assesses its impact. The programme supports a range of capacity building activities in 27 countries, and this case study focuses on the impact of these interventions in 2018. Specifically, the case study highlights the ability of regional networks and community experts to provide technical support relating to the Global Fund, and the capacity within sex worker-led organisations to engage with the Global Fund.
Associations between sex work laws and sex workers’ health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative and qualitative studies
This systematic review and meta-analysis, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), has found that sex workers who have experienced 'regressive policing' (including arrest, extortion and violence from police), are three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence. The study examines the impacts of criminalisation on sex workers’ safety, health, and access to services, using data from 33 countries. Sex workers' health and safety was found to be at risk not only in countries where sex work was criminalised, but also in Canada, which has introduced the “Nordic model”, where purchasing sex is specifically criminalised.
Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) has released two complementary analyses on prostitution “diversion” programs (PDPs) in the USA: Diversion from Justice: 'A Rights-Based Analysis of Local ‘Prostitution Diversion Programs’ and their Impacts on People in the Sex Sector in the United States'; and 'Un-Meetable Promises: Rhetoric and Reality in New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts'. One is national in scope and the other focused specifically on New York City programming.
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.
This case study is a follow-up to The Global Fund Workshops case study published in 2015. The Global Fund workshops were a series of five-day workshops which took place in 2015. In 2016, the Regional Community Experts, supported by National Community Experts, provided a series of workshops in 18 countries and helped implement country-level follow up activities through virtual technical support. NSWP’s Senior Programme Officer supported the Regional Community Experts. This case study describes the goals, strategies and impact of the national-level workshops and country-level follow-up activities.
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.
The Global Fund workshops are a series of five-day workshops which took place in 2015, organised by NSWP in partnership with regional sex worker-led networks. The Global Fund is one of the world’s largest funders for providing testing, treatment and care for people living with HIV. The workshops are designed to provide sex worker communities with essential information for understanding The Global Fund. This case study describes the goals, strategies and impact of the workshops.
Measuring the Impacts of Amnesty International’s Resolution on Protecting the Human Rights of Sex Workers
In August 2015, the International Council of Amnesty International voted in favour of a resolution to develop and adopt a policy that protects the human rights of sex workers, including full decriminalisation of all aspects of consensual sex work between adults. This case study reflects on the process towards Amnesty International's resolution, its impact so far and on the roles of NSWP and NSWP member organisations in this process.
This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA). The SWAA is a ground-breaking learning programme for community empowerment and capacity building, led by and for sex workers. The Academy brings together national teams of sex workers from across Africa to develop organising skills, learn best practices, stimulate national sex worker movements, and strengthen the regional network.
This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT), and NSWP's role in this process. The SWIT resource, produced by the World Health Organization, provides practical guidance for implementing effective HIV and STI programmes for sex workers. It emphasizes the importance of decriminalisation of sex work, the involvement of sex workers in developing policy, and the empowerment and self-determination of sex working communities as a fundamental part of the fight against HIV. An accessible 24-page Smart Guide to the SWIT is also available.
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.
This study gives a legal analysis of the legislative framework and jurisprudence relating to human trafficking in Canada. It also analyses the views of both criminal justice system personnel and SWAN society personnel on the enforcement and use of anti-trafficking legal measures. Contents include:
The Anti-Trafficking Review is published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), a network of over 100 NGOs worldwide focused on promoting and advancing the human rights of migrants and trafficked persons.
This Review explores what happens to the money and how the money to combat human trafficking is spent that is allocated by governments and private donors to stop human trafficking and to assist people who have been trafficked.