Resources

This resource has been developed both for researchers and community-based organisations in rights-constrained environments. It is intended to help both researchers and community organisations to:

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Theme: Health

The Global Alliance Against the Trafficking in Women's anthology 'Collateral Damage' reviews the experience of eight specific countries (Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Brazil, India, Nigeria, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The report attempts to assess what the impact  of anti-trafficking measures have been for a variety of people living and working there, or migrating into or out of these

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The need to reduce ‘demand’ for trafficked persons is widely mentioned in the anti-trafficking sector but few have looked at ‘demand’ critically or substantively. Some ‘demand’-based approaches have been heavily critiqued, such as the idea that eliminating sex workers’ clients (or the ‘demand’ for commercial sex) through incarceration or stigmatisation will reduce trafficking.

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This is the English version of the Note for Record of the September 2011 UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work

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This document is Bernhard Schwartländer's initial email response to the Advisory Group's concerns raised in their letter.  (See previous resource 'AG letter to Bernhard Schwartländer re Investment Framework').   

The Advisory Group had written to the authors of an article published in the Lancet (Volume 377, June 2011), entitled 'Towards an improved investment approach for an effective response to HIV/AIDS' to raise some concerns. 

You can download this 2 page pdf document above.  This resource is in English. 

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Theme: Health

The Advisory Group wrote to the main authors of an article published in the Lancet (Volume 377, June 2011), entitled 'Towards an improved investment approach for an effective response to HIV/AIDS' to raise some concerns, including:

  • The proposed flat-lining and under-resourcing of funding for HIV programming in the context of sex work
  • The apparent inclusion in HIV programming of both sex workers and their clients
  • The assumptions within the report appearing to come from UNGASS reporting data, regarding the reach of current HIV programming to sex workers
  •  The low level of funding for condom promotion seems insufficient to meet the needs of key populations 

You can read the full Advisory Group letter to the authors of this article by downloading the 2 page pdf document above.  This resource is in English.

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Theme: Health

This is the English version of the Specialist Submission, by the UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work, to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

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This is the English version of the Note for Record of the July 2011 UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work Teleconferences.

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This is the English version of the Note for Record of the April 2011 UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work Teleconferences.

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This report reflects the voices and opinions of 140 participants, including resource persons and sex workers, at the first Asia and the Pacific Regional Consultation on HIV and Sex Work, held on October 2010 in Pattaya, Thailand. It covers critical components of the HIV and sex work responses, and four key areas – namely, creating an enabling legal and policy environment, ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights, eliminating violence against sex workers, and addressing migration and mobility in the context of HIV and sex work.

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In their work and lives, sex workers experience disproportionate levels of violence including police abuse, sexual assault, rape, harrassment, extortion, and abuse from clients, agents (pimps), sex establishment owners, intimate partners, local residents, and public authorities.  Violence against sex workers is a violation of their human rights, and increases sex workers' vulnerability to HIV.

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Evidence suggests that HIV interventions in the sex industry are more effective when sex workers themselves have direct ownership in designing, implementing and monitoring of programmes.  This entails moving beyond standard HIV prevention programmes and addressing the overall health - including sexual and reproductive health - and well being needs of sex workers and their clients while, at the same time, respecting fundamental human rights.  Sex workers must be recognised as agents of change rather than as 'vectors' of infection and this requires a paradigm shift in the way sex workers are viewed and engaged in the response.

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Sex workers are highly mobile populations, moving both within and accross national boundaries, as either documented or undocumented labour.  However, labour laws rarely, if ever, offer protection and benefits to local or migrant sex workers.  Migration and mobility factors that can significantly increase the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV and sexually transmitted infections, in large part due to their undocumented status including lack of work permits, poor working conditions in some cases, lack of access to health care, occupational health and safety standards, and other forms of labour protection. 

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Governments and the United Nations have recognised the need to address the legal and policy barriers and stigma and discrimination faced by sex workers in order to respond to the HIV epidemic.  In many countries, laws, policies and practices against sex workers limit their right to basic social economic rights such as access to education, health care, housing, banking facilities, inheritance, property and legal services.  They may also lack citizenship or legal status, resulting from migration or unfavourable regulations, which can lead to exclusion of sex workers from health services, social programmes and communities.

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This letter was sent to Peter Piot to raise concerns about the language and focus of the 2007 UNAIDS Guidance Note: HIV and Sex Work. In particular, it raises concerns about the emphasis on reducing commercial sex rather than HIV, and:

This Guidance Note addresses the urgent need to provide and increase access to HIV programming for sex workers of all genders, HIV positive or negative. The Millennium Development Goals such as girls education, gender equality and poverty reduction, form the background contextual setting for this document. This Guidance Note will assist UN agencies and UNAIDS country programmes to develop sex work and HIV policy and services that are in line with governments commitments to improve their response to HIV/ AIDS, and with the ultimate objective of moving towards Universal Access to comprehensive prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.

This Guidance Note has been developed to provide a unified approach by the UNAIDS Cosponsoring agencies to the reduction of HIV vulnerabilities in the context of sex work, where sex workers are defined as adults, 18 years and over. Its specific focus is the urgent need to provide access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for all sex workers, and to provide life choices and occupational alternatives to sex work, including for sex workers living with HIV.