Human Trafficking and Sex Work

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This concise guide to the difference between sex work and trafficking - and what a response to trafficking grounded in sex worker rights looks like - discusses the key differences between sex work and trafficking; the differences that make the habitual conflation of the two not only inaccurate but also a hinderance to tackling actual exploitation, and a threat to the human rights of sex workers.

Empower write to Thai PM re 'anti-trafficking' raids

Empower have written an open letter to the Thai Prime Minister protesting against anti-trafficking raids and the appalling human rights abuses perpetrated against migrant sex workers by the state. 

The background to this story can be read in much more detail in 'Hit & Run', Empower's recent research report.  In particular the report contains a case study (Raid and Rescue 2 - Mae Sot, pages 79-85) in which 17 Burmese nationals were arrested as part of an 'anti-trafficking' raid in March 2011.  The case study documents how the women were provided with poor interpreting, denied proper information about the reason for their detention and their rights, and how they have been held for over a year in a 'rescue' shelter as victims of trafficking and potential witnesses in a prosecution - despite their assertion that they were working in the entertainment venue voluntarily.  The women were also subjected to mandatory and invasive medical examinations and tests and denied proper access to support and advice.

The full text of the Open Letter follows:

Book Review: Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo

Source: Rights Work Initiative

In her book Illicit Flirtations, Rhacel Parrenas provides us with cutting edge, systematic, and empirical research on Filipina migrant hostesses— the women the U.S. government called the largest group of “trafficked” persons in the world.  Illicit Flirtations challenges this simplistic long-distance assessment.  It presents the nuances, differences, struggles and hopes of Filipina women working in Japan as bar hostesses.

Hit & Run - Report on Anti-trafficking in Thailand


On 21st February, Empower held a very successful launch of their anti trafficking report "Hit & Run: Sex Worker's Research on Anti trafficking in Thailand."

The launch also saw a special exhibition of a tapestry, 'The Mida Tapestry', sewn by sex workers that speaks of the experience of a 'police rescue' event at Mida Karaoke Bar.

Empower also premiered this short film "Last Rescue in Siam" (above) made by sex workers in Chiang Mai.

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Zi Teng Newsletter 39 - Chinese

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You can download this 12 page PDF resource above. This resource is in Chinese.

Report on The United States of America, 9th Round of the Universal Periodic Review

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This report is submitted by the Best Practices Policy Project, Desiree Alliance, and the Sexual Rights Initiative. It focuses on civil and human rights violations of those engaged, or perceived to be engaged, in sexual trade and sex work in the U.S..