Resources: NSWP Publications

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As new medical technologies are increasingly being promoted in the prevention and treatment of HIV, and heralded as interventions to be used within communities of key populations including sex workers, NSWP urges the international HIV community and donors to take the concerns of sex workers presented in this report seriously and continue meaningful engagement with key populations in this shift towards the use of biomedical interventions. For years sex workers around the world have been developing and sustaining sex worker-led HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes.

NSWP has published a new briefing paper titled ‘Sex Work and the Law: Understanding Legal Frameworks and the Struggle for Sex Work Law Reforms’

This is the 8th issue of NSWP's quarterly newsletter ‘Sex Work Digest’. 

This resource is in English.  You can download this 11 page PDF above.

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) received funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support the development of advocacy tools around rights-based economic empowerment for sex workers. The first year of this three-year project was coordinated by the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), whose office is in Bangkok, Thailand. Over the last 20 years, with the catalyst of HIV decimating our ranks, India and Southeast Asia have been home to some of the most progressive sex worker-led networks in the world.

This paper aims to frame sex work in terms of labour migration, economics and empowering labour environments, rather than in terms of power, disease and immorality. It discusses policies and programmes affecting sex workers that limit their economic empowerment.

In 2009, 33 million people were living with HIV, 68% of them in Africa. Globally, female sex workers are 13.5% more likely to be living with HIV than the general population (UNAIDS 2013). However, in many places sex workers’ rates of HIV are not known, whether due to insufficient research or due to sex workers’ own reluctance to document it for fear that the response will be to treat them as ‘vectors of disease’, rather than to focus attention on the broader socio-legal context which informs their HIV risk.

Sex workers constitute a key group affected by HIV, with multiple factors contributing to their vulnerability. Around the world, much HIV programming falls short of taking these factors into account and actively working towards their reduction. This failure can only result, at best, in temporary respite which privileges some sex workers over others, rather than serving to empower the sex worker community as a whole, enabling them to work safely and protect themselves.

HIV prevention efforts are being scaled up globally, to target sex workers as a key affected population in the HIV response. The voices and experiences of sex workers living with HIV are too often rendered invisible: this means that the additional needs and rights of sex workers living with HIV are often overlooked in forums that support the rights of general populations of people living with HIV. This paper sets out the demands of positive sex workers articulated by sex workers themselves.

One of the initial advocacy priorities identified by NSWP+ (a platform for positive sex workers and others committed to equal rights for sex workers living with HIV)  was treatment access and joining the campaign against trade related restrictions and patents used by large pharmaceutical companies to make huge profits from essential medicines.

This global report pulls together the regional reports documenting good practice in sex worker-led HIV programming to provide a global overview.