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.
This is the Report of the Committee on HIV/AIDS which documents the discussions leading up to the drafting process of ILO Recommendation No. 200 on HIV/AIDS and the world of work (you can download this document as a separate source by following this link).
The first international labour standard on HIV and AIDS in the world of work was adopted by governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives from ILO member States at the International Labour Conference in June 2010.
‘The XXX Forum’ entitled “Celebrating a Decade of Action, Designing Our Future,” was a first of its kind in Quebec. It was a historical moment, a time for dialogue and for sharing our thoughts on how to support sex workers all over the world. This meeting allowed us to consolidate a system for community support by and for sex workers, and to attack the stigma that affects people who do sex work.
On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a landmark decision that substantially reshaped Canada’s legal framework regarding adult sex work. The case of Bedford v. Canada resulted in the striking down of three provisions of the Criminal Code: the communication, bawdy-house and living on the avails laws. The Court found that these three provisions violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) given their negative impact on sex workers’ security of the person.
A number of people are excluded from the process and benefits of development because of their sexuality. Policies designed to lift people out of poverty, to provide employment and access to crucial services, all too often exclude those who do not conform to ‘normal’ sexual or gender identities. In many countries, this exclusion is also enforced through law.
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.
HOOK is a kickass grassroots, volunteer initiative by, for, and about male sex workers. These pocket guides, supersnappy toolkit and cop card provide information on sex work. This educational material is interesting for sex workers who want to educate themselves or others on how work safely and healthy.
The Working Man's Pocket Guide gives tips on doing sex work: be mobile, be good to yourself, be aware, be cautious about cash, be listening.
The Client Guide is a handout for clients. It educates on etiquette in sex worker - client interactions.
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 resource is a handout produced by an NSWP member.
It includes five smart and simple tips for maintaining healthy personal boundaries while working in the sex industry.
You can download this 1 page document above. This resource is in English.
This document is a handout produced by an NSWP member.
Let’s face it: some escorts and their clients are going to PARtY and play! Harm reduction believes people have the right to make informed decisions about what they put into their bodies, including drugs. But how do you keep yourself safe? Here are a few tips to keep YOU safe!
You can download this 1 page handout above. This resource is in English.
This global report pulls together the regional reports documenting good practice in sex worker-led HIV programming to provide a global overview.
A global project to identify and document best practices undertaken by sex workers in carrying out programmes related to sex work and HIV; to identify and document issues of sex workers and their access to HIV‑related treatment and the impact of free trade on this access; and to identify and document the impact of programmes relating to HIV directed at sex workers which fail to include a human rights‑based approach.
This document summarises the experience of sex workers through examples of best practices that serve to share the development of politically influential tools; to strengthen sex workers’ group efforts to become effectively involved in the development of policies and programmes that help to amplify their voices both at regional and international levels.
- Tais Plus from Kyrgyzstan,
- STAR STAR from Macedonia,
- Rose Alliance from Sweden, and
- Silver Rose from the Russian Federation.
This resource is a note by NSWP members Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP) and SANGRAM. It summarizes the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women in India with regards to her observations made in relation to sex worker rights in India. It highlights that the Special Rapporteur called on the Indian Government to review the problematic ITPA (Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act) legislation which criminalizes women in sex work and to take measures to protect the human rights of sex workers.
The present Report has been issued by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences as a result of her official visit to India from 22 April to 1 May 2013. Violence against women in India is systematic and occurs in the public and private spheres. It is underpinned by the persistence of patriarchal social norms and inter- and intragender hierarchies.