Resources

Sex workers all over the world were among the hardest hit communities at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to be impacted by this global public health crisis. The structural oppression that sex workers faced before the pandemic as a result of criminalisation, stigma and discrimination was exacerbated as sex workers experienced hardship, a total loss of income, increased harassment, human rights abuses, and health inequalities. The vast majority of sex workers were excluded from emergency responses and national social protection schemes.

Anti-rights movements pose numerous threats to sex workers, with their diverse ideologies, aims, and emerging alliances. These threats must be better understood to promote sex workers’ rights.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: The Impacts of Anti-Rights Movements on Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for respecting and protecting sex workers’ human rights.

In recent years, movements organised against the rights of marginalised and criminalised groups have grown in influence and impact around the globe. Anti-migrants’ rights groups have lobbied for more restrictive border policies, in violation of the right to move and migrate. Anti-sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and anti-LGBT groups have pushed back access to sexual and reproductive services and gender-affirming care for women, trans, and gender-diverse people, in violation of the right to health.

Legislation around sex work can be extremely complex and different legal models exist in different countries, and sometimes even within countries. While understanding the written laws and regulations is important, it does not provide a complete picture of the impact of sex work laws on the lives of sex workers. To understand this, it is essential to understand how the laws are interpreted, enforced, and implemented on the ground.

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.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: Universal Health Coverage: Putting the Last Mile First. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper and provides key recommendations for international human rights and health bodies, national governments, and sex worker-led organisations.

You can download this 4-page Community Guide above. It is now available in English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese.

Theme: Health

Universal Health Coverage speaks to the global goal of providing all people with the health care they need without creating undue financial burdens on the individual. In many parts of the world, health provision and access to health services remains extremely poor, particularly for criminalised and marginalised populations such as sex workers and other key populations.

Theme: Health

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: Economic Empowerment for Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and identifies good practice and key recommendations. 

You can download this 5-page Community Guide above. It is now available in English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese.

The criminalisation of sex work creates a range of barriers for sex workers when it comes to accessing their economic rights. Sex workers face overlapping and mutually reinforcing risks, such as social marginalisation, violence and poor health, which restrict the ability of sex workers to improve their living and working conditions and to achieve economic security. Furthermore, sex workers commonly report a lack of access to bank accounts, saving schemes, loans and legal forms of credit, insurance, pensions, and other basic employment benefits.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: Sex Workers’ Lack of Access to Justice. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for policy makers and service providers. 

You can download this 5-page Community Guide above. It is now available in English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese.

Sex workers around the world face a wide range of barriers to accessing justice, both as victims of crime and when charged with crimes. Since sex work is widely criminalised, most sex workers are denied access to the benefits and rights afforded to other workers under labour laws and face the risk of criminalisation, detention, deportation and legal sanction.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: Shrinking Spaces and Silencing Voices. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for policy makers and service providers. 

You can download this 5-page Community Guide above. It is now available in English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese.

Funding for sex worker-led organisations is shrinking, as has the space for the voices of sex workers, resulting in sex workers having less influence in programmes, policies and other decisions that affect their lives. Civil society organisations and other stakeholders now feel they have the right to funding and advocacy platforms, either because they work with sex workers and are therefore ‘experts’ who can speak for sex workers, or they wish to exclude sex workers’ voices entirely because they refuse to recognise sex workers’ rights as human rights.

Legislation around sex work can be extremely complex; different legal models exist in different countries and sometimes even within countries. NSWP published a mapping of national legislation used to regulate and criminalise sex work in 208 countries and dependencies, with sub-national legislation included for some countries.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: Sex Workers’ Experiences of Stock-outs of HIV/STI Commodities and Treatments. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for policy makers and health service providers. 

Theme: Health

Globally, sex workers are disproportionately affected by HIV, with prevalence estimated to be up to 34 times higher among sex workers than the general population. Access to commodities for HIV prevention, detection and access to treatment is critical to the health and wellbeing of sex workers around the world. Interventions recommended in World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for key populations, including sex workers, include comprehensive condom and lubricant programming; HIV testing and counselling; HIV treatment and care; and sexual and reproductive health interventions.

Theme: Health

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper on the Homophobia and Transphobia Experienced by LGBT Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders. 

You can download this 6 page resource above. It is available in English, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experience targeted homophobia and transphobia at every level – including legal, political and social. For sex workers who are LGBT, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity adds to and intensifies the discrimination they experience as sex workers. 

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper on Sex Workers’ Access to Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Services. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for policy makers and health service providers. 

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

Theme: Health