This resource is a Community Guide to the Policy Brief on the Impact of Criminalisation on Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to HIV and Violence. This guide summarises how criminalisation increases sex workers’ vulnerability to violence and HIV, and makes a series of recommendations towards the full decriminalisation of sex work as an integral step to improving the lives of sex workers. The full Policy Brief is available here.
This policy brief examines the impact of laws that criminalise sex work, informed by NSWP members’ submissions to an e-consultation. It examines the impact of criminalisation at three distinct phases: the surveillance and policing of sex workers prior to arrest; arrest and formal involvement of the criminal justice system; and release and return to the community. The paper covers various areas of law and law enforcement practices that disproportionately impact sex workers, including immigration laws, policing of public spaces, anti-LGBTQ laws, HIV criminalisation and religious codes.
Today marks the 13th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. For thirteen years, sex workers have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers.
The issues faced by sex workers vary from region to region. These differences are due to different laws, social and cultural contexts, but one common issue faced by all sex workers is their vulnerability to and experience of violence.
This global statement draws attention to the fact that all sex workers are vulnerable to violence because of the criminalisation and legal oppression of sex work, stigma, and discrimination. This vulnerability to violence is increased for sex workers living with HIV, sex workers who use drugs, transgender sex workers, migrant sex workers, and sex workers that are part of other marginalised groups.
Midnight Blue has published their report Cases of Arrested Transgender Sex Workers which documents the human rights abuses faced by transgender sex workers in detention. Up until June 2016, Midnight Blue has monitoried the cases of 40 transgender sex workers who were arrested in Hong Kong. Many transgender sex workers in Hong Kong are migrant sex workers, and after their detention is complete they are often deported. Midnight Blue is demanding the criminal justice system review the human rights abuses against transgender sex workers in detention in Hong Kong.
Public Association Amelia, the only organisation that provides services to sex workers, has published their report Documenting Human Rights Abuse in the Republic of Kazakhstan with financial support from SWAN. The report is about sex work, violence, and HIV in Kazakhstan. It describes the violence experienced by sex workers and how this increases the vulnerability of sex workers to STIs.
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.
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.
NSWP is calling on the Turkish government, Turkish police, and the Turkish justice system to take urgent action to uphold the human rights of male, female, and transgender sex workers. Sex workers have the same right to protection from the law and access to justice as other people. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect without discrimination. The occupation and gender identity of sex workers should never be used to deny access to justice, health services, or social services.
According to a 2015 survey by Transgender Europe entitled Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide Project, 79 percent of transgender sex workers interviewed in Turkey reported experiencing police harassment. According to the Project for the Mapping of Violence Against and Legal Support for Trans Sex Workers, one in every two sex workers has experienced violence, and 50 percent of this violence was perpetrated by the police.
Transgender sex workers in Turkey are particularly vulnerable to violence, including from the police. In May 2015, NSWP published an article about seven transgender women who were violently attacked in different cities across Turkey. Two days after these attacks, more than 100 people gathered in Ankara to protest about violence against transgender people in Turkey.
This study gives a legal analysis of the legislative framework and jurisprudence relating to human trafficking in Canada. It also analyses the views of both criminal justice system personnel and SWAN society personnel on the enforcement and use of anti-trafficking legal measures. Contents include:
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.
The bulletin of the DMSC, discussing common financial scams, police violence, and the work to tackle HIV, human rights violations by the police, and the stigma that prevents sex workers from accessing services.
The bulletin of the DMSC, discussing common financial scams, police violence, and the work done to tackle HIV, human rights violations by the police, and the stigma that prevents sex workers from accessing services. It also discusses the success that self-regulating sex worker boards have had in tackling trafficking, in contrast to the more well-resourced non-sex worker-led programmes.
'Criminalising Condoms' details the experiences of sex workers and outreach services across six countries (Kenya, Namibia, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States). It finds that where any degree of criminalisation exists (whether of sex workers themselves, or of activities relating to sex work), condoms are used as evidence of sex work. This forces sex workers to choose between carrying safer sex supplies, thus attracting the deleterious attentions of the police, or working without condoms in the hope that the police will refrain from harassment - but also without the supplies that would protect them from HIV.
Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center - Shadow CEDAW report submitted to the 39th Session of CEDAW in 2007.
You can download this 13 page PDF report above.
This resource is in English.
Sex workers from KESWA and ASWA in Nairobi staged a protest marking International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on 17th December. Thousands of sex workers joined with gay activists and organisations to condemn the ‘Kill the Gay, Uganda Bill’ and marched on City Hall.
This is the ﬁrst in an occasional series of papers that will be produced covering a variety of topics. This series will try to provide a global overview for activists, highlighting examples of good practice developed by member organisations and sex worker-led groups across the regions.
This paper is intended to be a ‘living document’ which will be added to as we document further examples from our global membership.
The topic of this first paper is 'Addressing Violence Against Sex Workers' and highlights 12 country examples of interventions to address violence.
You can download this 9 page PDF file above. This resource is in English.
This report documents a meeting entitled "Ain't I A Woman? A Global Dialogue between the Sex Workers Rights Movement and the Stop Violence against Women Movement" from 12-14 March 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The report features the presentations from many speakers in the sex workers' rights movement including Cheryl Overs, Meena Seshu, Ruth Morgan Thomas, Anna-Louise Crago, Kaythi Win, Hua Sittipham Boonyapisomparn, Swapna Gayen and Meenakshi Kamble.
This letter was written by DMSC to encourage people to write to the the Chief Minister of West Bengal, the state Home Ministry, the Human Rights Commission and the National as well as State Commission for Women to demand justice for the violent beating, harassment, and discrimination against Rekha Lodh, a sex workers in the Tollygunj red-light district in Kolkata.
The RighT Guide is a tool to assess the human rights impacts of anti-trafficking policies. The tool was created by both sex worker-led organisations and allies. The aim of the toolkit is to provide NGOs and other organisations with a tool they can use to assess the consequences of anti-trafficking policies on the human rights of the people most affect by these policies, such as sex workers. The tool provides the step-by-step process to study the impact of anti-trafficking policies, which then provides evidence-based research for advocacy against these policies.
This document includes 15 factsheets that answer questions and define terms used in the RighT Guide: A Tool to Assess the Human Rights Impact of Anti-trafficking Policies. The tool was created by both sex worker-led organisations and allies. The aim of the toolkit is to provide NGOs and other organisations with a tool they can use to assess the consequences of anti-trafficking policies on the human rights of the people most affect by these policies, such as sex workers. These factsheets should be used with the RighT Guide to answer questions that readers may have.