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This resource is a Community Guide to the Sex Work and Gender Equality policy brief. It highlights the linkages between sex workers’ rights and gender equality. It argues the women’s movement must meaningfully include sex workers as partners. It advocates for a feminism that recognises sex workers’ rights as human rights and highlights shared areas of work under an international human rights framework.

This policy brief highlights the linkages between sex workers’ rights and gender equality. It argues the women’s movement must meaningfully include sex workers as partners. It advocates for a feminism that recognises sex workers’ rights as human rights and highlights shared areas of work under an international human rights framework. Ultimately, there can be no gender equality if sex workers’ human rights are not fully recognised and protected. A community guide is also available.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Sex Work as Work policy brief. It summarises international frameworks that address work and the right to work, and particularly, sex work as work. It shows the benefits of viewing sex work as work through a labour approach. It also summarises the consultation with NSWP members about what decent work would look like in the context of sex work.

This global policy brief looks at sex work through a labour framework, and advocates for the recognition of sex work as work. Where sex work is criminalised, sex workers’ workplaces are often excluded from national labour laws. This creates an environment where sex workers have no option but to accept exploitative working conditions. As a result, the struggle for the recognition of sex work as work is closely tied to the struggle for decriminalisation. This policy brief outlines the benefits of looking at sex work through a labour approach. A community guide is also available.

This report and executive summary by the Global Commission on HIV and Law, supported by UNDP, examines the role of law in effective HIV responses. The report is based on expert submissions, research on HIV, health and law, and testimony of 700 people most affected by HIV-related laws from 140 countries.

Theme: Health

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.

UTSOPI, a sex worker organisation in Brussels, have published a statement on increased legal oppression of sex work in various municipalities across the country. The statement below is about the Alhambra area of Brussels where the mayor, Yvan Mayeur, has increased the financial penalities against sex workers and clients. 

Download this resource: PDF icon Yvan Mayeur, UTSOPI - 2016.pdf
Theme: Human Rights

STAR-STAR, a sex workers' collective in the Balkans, has published Voluntary Sex Work. They interviewed 73 sex workers in the city of Skopje. Their key research objectives were to understand sex workers' attitudes and perceptions towards voluntary sex work and the legalisation of sex work, to raise the general population's awareness about sex work, and finally, to present the advantages and disadvantages of sex work legalisation. 

Theme: Labour

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

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

This policy brief on the Decriminalisation of Sex Work in Kenya was written in collaborartion with the University of Amsterdam and NSWP member HOYMAS and KESWA. This policy brief argues that sex workers have the same rights as other citizens in Kenya as outlined in the Kenyan Constitution. The brief describes key instances in which the rights of sex workers as defined by the Constitution are violated in Kenya.

The EMPOWER Foundation Thailand report Moving Toward Decent Sex Work and its summary explores the protections offered to Thai sex workers under civil law and the application of other labour mechanisms to sex work. It provides an overview of the Thai sex industry and argues that to develop a reform process, people must hear how exploitation is defined and experienced by Thai sex workers. Decent Sex Work provides recommendations which are appropriate to prevent and address exploitation in sex work.

Theme: Human Rights

This briefing paper describes the different legislative frameworks used to criminalise and oppress sex work and sex workers, including oppressive regulatory frameworks. It also provides insight into the language and shared principles that NSWP members use when advocating for law reforms that respect and protect sex workers’ human and labour rights.

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.

This Report aims to summarize the arguments for and against the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services. It first describes the experiences of Swedish and Dutch legal regulation relating to the purchase of sexual services. In Sweden, there is a wish to abolish sex work by way of criminalising the client. In the Netherlands, sex work is allowed within certain limits (only involuntary sex work comes under criminal rules).

This resource commences by quoting Ronald Weitzer, who notes "the management of prostitution is one of the most invisible aspects of the trade". It goes on to discuss common prohibitionist discourse around sex work, that situates all possible study on the topic on a continuum between deviance and violence, before highlighting that this limited binary is "diametrically opposed to much of the scholarly literature, and, more importantly, to what sex workers are asserting - namely, that sex work is work".

Download this resource: PDF icon ManagementResearch (4).pdf

This article looks at how legalisation came to the netherlands; what it was intended to do, and what the impact has been on sex workers. In order to answer these lines of enquiry, the article examines what discourses frame the major actors in this debate, starting with a historical overview of Dutch sex work policies throughout the 20th century. Having established the socio-political backdrop of the Netherlands' approach to legalised sex work, the resource discusses how legalisation (or regulationism) "did not solve a number of serious problems in the sex industry".

Download this resource: PDF icon fulltext1 (2).pdf

This reference text seeks to "clarify terms and illustrate examples of alternatives to the use of criminal law as a response to sex work". It provides capsule definitions - with small case-studies or examples - of what a variety of laws and policies look like in terms of their impact on sex work, covering criminalisation, legalisation, and decriminalisation, along with a mini-discussion of other laws that are used against sex workers, such as the criminalisation of HIV transmission, or immigration enforcement.

Download this resource: PDF icon sex-work-laws-policies-20120713[1].pdf