Open Society Foundation have published No Turning Back: Examining Sex Worker-Led Programs that Protect Health and Rights. Stigma, criminal laws, and punitive policing practices harm sex workers, including their health. In response, a growing number of authorities across the world have called for the decriminalisation of sex work. The six case studies in this publication—in Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, South Africa, and Zimbabwe—offer a look at sex worker–led programming that has reduced police abuse, health risks, and other adverse impacts of bad laws and law enforcement on sex workers.
In this article, Sharmus Outlaw, Jill McCracken, and Penelope Saunders provide an overview of the report Nothing About Us, Without Us: Sex Work, HIV, Policy, and Organizing. It focuses on the experiences of transgender people who are also sex workers or are profiled as sex workers and reveals how current HIV policies impact groups of people who are often silenced and excluded from policy debates. It is a joint project with Best Practices Policy Project and Desiree Alliance. This article was published as a part of Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience.
Jorge Flores-Aranda, Jonathan Bacon, and Claude Poisson provide an overview of the Sex Work Programme at Rézo, an organisation for men who have sex with men in Montréal, Canada. They argue male sex workers demonstrate resilience and resistence through the publication of the magazine the “Cowboy Urbain”. This article was published as a part of Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience.
In Kampala, Uganda, there is a large network of sex worker-led organisations that unite under the umbrella organisation Uganda Harmonized Rights Alliance (UHRA). Paula Pönkänen and Hanna Jörneus argue that sex work organising in Uganda is a great example of how sex workers develop and implement their own programming. They provide an overview of sex worker-led programming in Kampala.
Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and French. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here.
Sex workers are often talked about as facing high rates of violence, significant exposure to STIs, as well as work-related psychological stress. Yet even as sex workers are called ‘at risk’ by researchers and health professionals, their health needs are unaddressed or unknown in many conventional health care settings. Peer-led health services provider Persist researched sex workers' experiences and with health services, as well as and what sex workers themselves wanted.
This research investigates sex workers’ opinions on support services in Berlin, Germany. In Berlin, support services for sex workers range from financial, health and legal support to psychosocial counselling and support with issues of migration, etc. Most are carried out by social workers at NGOs targeted at sex workers. While some of these NGOs advocate for sex worker rights, many aim to ‘rescue’ sex workers and to abolish sex work. The researcher concludes there is a discrepancy between support services demand and supply. This article was published in Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.
This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA). The SWAA is a ground-breaking learning programme for community empowerment and capacity building, led by and for sex workers. The Academy brings together national teams of sex workers from across Africa to develop organising skills, learn best practices, stimulate national sex worker movements, and strengthen the regional network.
This case study reflects on the development and impact of the Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT), and NSWP's role in this process. The SWIT resource, produced by the World Health Organization, provides practical guidance for implementing effective HIV and STI programmes for sex workers. It emphasizes the importance of decriminalisation of sex work, the involvement of sex workers in developing policy, and the empowerment and self-determination of sex working communities as a fundamental part of the fight against HIV. An accessible 24-page Smart Guide to the SWIT is also available.
This is a summary of the findings of the Economic Empowerment: Does Rehabilitation Have a Role? briefing paper and the Overcoming Practices that Limit Sex Worker Agency in the Asia Pacific Region briefing paper. In this summary, NSWP reflects on the impact of economic empowerment programmes for sex workers.
This is a summary of the Asia and the Pacific regional report on economic and social empowerment and the Africa regional report on economic empowerment programmes for sex workers. In this summary, NSWP reflects on best practices for the economic empowerment of sex workers, focusing on elements of successful economic empowerment programmes and describing lessons learnt from programmes that fail.
The Smart Sex Worker’s Guide to SWIT provides a short summary of the key points in Sex Worker Implemetation Tool (SWIT). The SWIT, which was authored by the World Health Organisation, provides evidence for the necessity of decriminalisation of sex work, the involvement of sex workers in developing policy, and the empowerment and self-determination of sex working communities as a fundamental part of the fight against HIV. The guide can be used by sex workers and sex worker organisations who are designing or running programmes for sex workers. It may also be useful as an advocacy tool when advocating for rights-based services.
This Africa Regional Report documents case studies of economic empowerment programmes in 6 African countries: Democratic Republic of Congo; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Nigeria; and Uganda. There are relatively few economic empowerment programmes for sex workers led by sex workers in Africa. As such this regional report evaluates both successful and failed economic empowerment programmes by sex worker-led organisations and non-sex worker-led organisations.
Working Together is a guide to increase and improve the meaningful involvement of the community sector in all aspects of national responses to HIV, with an emphasis on national planning and decision-making processes.
Working Together is based on the understanding and evidence that community sectors have a vital role to play in action on HIV. However, communities often benefit from practical support and the exchange of ideas to strengthen their coordination, consultation and representation.
Who this guide is for and how it can be used
This publication documents the lessons learned from the process of implementing a four-country research project on sex work and violence through the narratives and reflections of those who participated in the research since its inception in 2011. The publication was commissioned by the Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalization (CASAM) in consultation with APNSW, UNDP, UNFPA and P4P (Asia-Pacific regional offices in Bangkok). Funding for the travel to conduct interviews towards this documentation was provided by UNDP.
A workshop was recently held in Geneva that brought together leading experts in health and human rights, technical partners, representatives of networks of key populations and people living with HIV, donors, grant recipients, civil society organizations, scholars and Global Fund board members and staff.
In this resource, the World Health Organisation (WHO) brings together all existing guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for five key populations (both adults and adolescents) in the HIV response: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons and other closed settings, sex workers and transgender people. It includes a number of new recommendations and updates existing guidance and recommendations as appropriate. The 8-page policy brief summarises the Consolidated Guidelines.
These guidelines aim to:
This regional report explores economic empowerment programmes in Asia through case studies through nine case studies. It describes good practice examples of sex worker-led economic empowerment projects and the impact of forced rehabilitation programmes on the lives of sex workers. A summary of the regional reports regarding econoic empowerment is also available.
This paper discusses policies and programmes affecting sex workers that limit their economic empowerment. It aims to frame sex work in terms of labour migration, economics and empowering labour environments, rather than in terms of power, disease and immorality. A summary of this paper is also available.
In Southeast Asia, APNSW observed that sex workers frequently move to faraway lands to find more lucrative work and economic enhancement, but are greatly constrained by anti-trafficking policies framed by a belief that no woman will move willingly to work in sex work. Anti-trafficking laws are often used to limit free movement of women in sex work by raiding and ‘rescuing’ them. Though this is ostensibly done to help them escape traffickers, it is mainly used to ‘correct’ their behaviour.