Resources

Despite the global trend of increasing mobility, migrant workers are still stigmatised and silenced – in politics and media alike. Additionally, migrant sex workers are painted as either victims or criminals in discourses that conflate sex work with human trafficking and deny sex workers the right to migrate. Their human rights are often ignored in favour of driving broader political agendas to restrict migration and criminalise sex work. 

Despite the global trend of increasing mobility, migrant workers are still stigmatised and silenced – in politics and media alike. Additionally, migrant sex workers are painted as either victims or criminals in discourses that conflate sex work with human trafficking and deny sex workers the right to migrate. Their human rights are often ignored in favour of driving broader political agendas to restrict migration and criminalise sex work.

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.

In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total from 55 different countries, out of which 18 responses were from 11 countries – Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam – in the Asia and the Pacific region

In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total from 55 different countries, out of which 53 responses were from 6 countries – Canada, Guyana, Mexico, Suriname, Trinidad, United States – in the North America and the Caribbean region.

In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total from 55 different countries out of which 22 responses were from 13 countries – Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, and Zambia – in the Africa region.

In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total from 55 different countries out of which 43 responses were from 17 countries – Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom – in the Europe region.

In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers. The survey received 156 responses in total, from 55 different countries, out of which 9 responses were from 4 countries – Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador – in the Latin America region.

NSWP facilitated a delegation from member organisations to attend the 64th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The 64th CSW session was cut from almost two weeks to one day following the outbreak of COVID-19, and was attended by government delegations only. This meant that all side and parallel events were cancelled and the expected robust discussions between community organisations and governments, and the essential input from civil society to hold governments accountable, was entirely absent.

Download this resource: NSWP at CSW64, NSWP - 2020

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.