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This resource is a Community Guide to the The Decriminalisation of Third Parties policy brief. It focuses on the human rights violations that occur when third parties are criminalised, and why NSWP and its members advocate for the decriminalisation of third parties.

This global policy brief summarises the research on the decriminalisation of third parties. It sets out in detail why NSWP and its members call for the decriminalisation of third parties.  It explores some of the key harms that are caused to sex workers as a result of the criminalisation of third parties. The paper concludes by reviewing available evidence, showing that the decriminalisation of third parties protects sex workers rights, enabling them to challenge abusive and exploitative working conditions and exert greater control over their working environment. A community guide is available here.

ICRSE has published their second intersection briefing paper entitled Feminism Needs Sex Workers, Sex Workers Need Feminism: Towards a Sex-Worker Inclusive Women's Rights Movement. This briefing paper explores the intersection of feminist ideologies, women’s rights and sex workers’ rights, and the feminist ideals which are included and supported in sex work activism. It calls upon the feminist movement to consider the growing evidence in support of sex work decriminalisation, build an alliance with sex workers and their organisations, and actively support sex workers’ rights and the decriminalisation of sex work.

Theme: Human Rights

Amnesty International has published their research entitled Outlawed and Abused: Criminalizing Sex Work in Papua New Guinea Summary to accompany their Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. While there are no laws directly criminalising sex work in Papua New Guinea, there are laws surrounding sex work that put sex workers at risk of police violence, violence from the community, and violence from clients.

Theme: Human Rights

Amnesty International has published their research entitled Outlawed and Abused: Criminalizing Sex Work in Papua New Guinea to accompany their Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. While there are no laws directly criminalising sex work in Papua New Guinea, there are laws surrounding sex work that put sex workers at risk of police violence, violence from the community, and violence from clients.

Theme: Human Rights

Amnesty International has published their research entitled Harmfully Isolated: Criminalizing Sex Work in Hong Kong to accompany their Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Sex work itself is not illegal in Hong Kong, but many activities surrounding sex work are included solicitation, owning or being found in a brothel, and living off the earnings of a sex worker. Amnesty International found that police violate the human rights of sex workers by abusing them, and using their power against them.

Theme: Human Rights

Amnesty International has published their research entitled Harmfully Isolated: Criminalizing Sex Work in Hong Kong to accompany their Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Sex work itself is not illegal in Hong Kong, but many activities surrounding sex work are included solicitation, owning or being found in a brothel, and living off the earnings of a sex worker. Amnesty International found that police violate the human rights of sex workers by abusing them, and using their power against them.

Theme: Human Rights

Amnesty International has published their research entitled "What I'm Doing is not a Crime": The Human Cost of Criminalizing Sex Work in the city of Buenos Aires Executive Summary, Argentina to accompany their Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Although sex work is not a crime in Argentina, sex workers, clients, and third parties are penalised through communication laws and anti-trafficking laws.

Theme: Human Rights

Amnesty International has published their research entitled "What I'm Doing is not a Crime": The Human Cost of Criminalizing Sex Work in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina to accompany their Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Although sex work is not a crime in Argentina, sex workers, clients, and third parties are penalised through communication laws and anti-trafficking laws.

Theme: Human Rights

Amnesty International has published their Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Amnesty International calls for the decriminalisation of all aspects of adult consensual sex work including all laws which criminalise sex workers, clients, and third parties. Amnesty International also calls for the end of the discriminatory enforcement of other laws against sex workers, such as vagrancy, loitering, and immigration requirements.

Theme: Human Rights

NSWP welcomes Amnesty International’s Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfill the Human Rights of Sex Workers. Amnesty International calls for the decriminalisation of all aspects of adult consensual sex work including all laws which criminalise sex workers, clients, and third parties. Amnesty International also calls for the end of the discriminatory enforcement of other laws against sex workers, such as vagrancy, loitering, and immigration requirements.

Theme: Human Rights

NSWP wishes to clarify a number of issues in the light of some recent media coverage on the subject of the decriminalisation of sex work. Several articles have appeared recently that have made some alarmist and extremely misleading statements in response to an original article in the New York Times Magazine (published 5th May 2016).

As a sex worker-led global network with 262 member organisations across 77 countries from Africa, Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America, representing tens of thousands of sex workers from diverse cultures and experiences, NSWP has a fundamental right to be involved in consultations around international and national policies that impact on sex workers’ lives and work. Attempting to silence sex workers by denying our agency and calling us pimps, traffickers and industry lobbyists is unacceptable.

The sex workers’ rights movement is committed to the full decriminalisation of sex work in the belief that it will help sex workers organise to eliminate exploitation, oppression and violence and address unfair and abusive working conditions instituted by state and non-state actors. Branding the decriminalisation of third parties as an attempt to ‘legalise pimps and brothel keeping’ undermines sex workers in their struggle for labour rights and justice.

Theme: Human Rights

In New Zealand, the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003. Its purpose is to decriminalise prostitution. Following the Act, the Department of Labour, in cooperation with the New Zealand Prostitues Collective (NZPC), developed the Occupational Health & Safety guidelines for the sex industry. This article looks at the development and effects of the New Zealand approach. It was written by members of the NZPC and was published as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.

This resource outlines the targets, goals, vision and strategies of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). It recommends decriminalisation of sex work as part of an effective HIV response: "The decriminalization of sex work could prevent people from acquiring HIV through combined effects on violence, police harassment, safer work environments and HIV transmission pathways."

This report by Scarlet Alliance outlines core principles in sex work law reform. The principles are an integral source of information and reference for politicians, government bodies, advocates, health providers, community sectors, current and potential sex workers, and sex industry owners and managers. They are the outcome of a five-stage consultation process with the Scarlet Alliance membership, including sex workers from a range of organisations and locations and with diverse experiences and backgrounds.

In August 2015, the International Council of Amnesty International voted in favour of a resolution to develop and adopt a policy that protects the human rights of sex  workers, including full  decriminalisation of all aspects of consensual sex work between adults. This case study reflects on the process towards Amnesty International's resolution, its impact so far and on the roles of NSWP and NSWP member organisations in this process.

Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and Spanish. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here.

Download this resource: PDF icon R4SW 2015_issue14_PDFV.pdf
Theme: Labour

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.

Download this resource: PDF icon Smart Guide to SWIT_PDF.pdf

This briefing paper calls for the decriminalisation of sex work and sets out TAMPEP International’s arguments against the abolitionist feminist lobby groups that work to decriminalisation.

Download this resource: PDF icon TAMPEP Briefing Paper 2015.pdf

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) would like to take this opportunity to express our support for Amnesty International’s Resolution and draft policy calling for the decriminalisation of sex work, tabled for adoption at the International Council Meeting, 6-11th August 2015. This draft policy is backed up by the findings of country-based research carried out by Amnesty International on the human rights impact of the criminalisation of sex work, and also on the consultation in 2014, which included input from many sex workers around the world – the community most affected by the proposals.

NSWP would also like to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the CATW statement, open letter and online petition attacking Amnesty International's proposals. CATW’s position is stigmatising, discriminatory and misrepresents the facts, conflating sex work with human trafficking. Most importantly it ignores the lived experiences of sex workers, silences their voices and seeks to perpetuate legal systems which place sex workers at increased risk of violence, stigmatisation, and discrimination; as well as limiting their access to health and social services. Furthermore, CATW is ignoring the overwhelming body of evidence and the findings of international bodies such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, who recommend that governments should work towards the decriminalisation of sex work and The Lancet which recently published a special series on HIV and Sex Workers, which also recommends the decriminalisation of sex work and reported “Decriminalisation of sex work would have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings, averting 33–46% of HIV infections in the next decade.”