Resources: NSWP Briefing Papers

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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 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 NSWP briefing paper provides an overview of the new HIV prevention tools on the horizon, including microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), vaccines, and ‘treatment for prevention’. It details the possible positive and negative impacts of these as identified by sex worker organisations. Finally, it explores how sex workers’ advocacy can influence the development and introduction of these tools in ways that maximise usefulness and minimise risk to sex workers.  

This NSWP briefing paper provides an overview of the new HIV prevention tools on the horizon, including microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), vaccines, and ‘treatment for prevention’. It details the possible positive and negative impacts of these as identified by sex worker organisations. Finally, it explores how sex workers’ advocacy can influence the development and introduction of these tools in ways that maximise usefulness and minimise risk to sex workers.  

The conflation of trafficking and migration with sex work, in law and practice, presents challenges to NSWP.

This NSWP briefing paper explains how sex work is conflated with trafficking; the legal framework; how demand for sex work is conflated with trafficking; the dangers of conflating trafficking with sex work, its impacts on sex workers’ lives and work; the impact on sex worker programming; and offers some recommendations for policy makers, donors and for civil society. 

The conflation of trafficking and migration with sex work, in law and practice, presents challenges to NSWP.

This NSWP briefing paper explains how sex work is conflated with trafficking; the legal framework; how demand for sex work is conflated with trafficking; the dangers of conflating trafficking with sex work, its impacts on sex workers’ lives and work; the impact on sex worker programming; and offers some recommendations for policy makers, donors and for civil society.