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Note: This report has been updated, following agreement with UNAIDS in January 2012 to revisions in the document.  

This resource was officially launched in December 2011 as a separate report from the Advisory Group at the UNAIDS Secretariat in Geneva, during the 29th meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and has now been integrated into the UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work as annexes and published by UNAIDS. 

This report reflects the voices and opinions of 140 participants, including resource persons and sex workers, at the first Asia and the Pacific Regional Consultation on HIV and Sex Work, held on October 2010 in Pattaya, Thailand. It covers critical components of the HIV and sex work responses, and four key areas – namely, creating an enabling legal and policy environment, ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights, eliminating violence against sex workers, and addressing migration and mobility in the context of HIV and sex work.

Sex workers are highly mobile populations, moving both within and accross national boundaries, as either documented or undocumented labour.  However, labour laws rarely, if ever, offer protection and benefits to local or migrant sex workers.  Migration and mobility factors that can significantly increase the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV and sexually transmitted infections, in large part due to their undocumented status including lack of work permits, poor working conditions in some cases, lack of access to health care, occupational health and safety standards, and other forms of labour protection. 

Governments and the United Nations have recognised the need to address the legal and policy barriers and stigma and discrimination faced by sex workers in order to respond to the HIV epidemic.  In many countries, laws, policies and practices against sex workers limit their right to basic social economic rights such as access to education, health care, housing, banking facilities, inheritance, property and legal services.  They may also lack citizenship or legal status, resulting from migration or unfavourable regulations, which can lead to exclusion of sex workers from health services, social programmes and communities.

United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 58th Session, 18 March – 26 April 2002
Items 14 and 15 of the agenda.

Prevention and fight against trafficking in human beings — A European Union strategy since 1996

RAPID The Press and Communication Service of the European Commission
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Each year, at world level, hundreds of thousands of women and children are being moved across international borders by trafficking rings. The European Union has been actively engaged since 1996 in developing a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach towards the prevention of and fight against trafficking in human beings. Here are a few examples of the way this strategy has been implemented over the last four years, going backwards in time.


The European Union and its Member States generally acknowledge the positive value of international migration when it takes place in a regulated and predictable manner. They are alarmed, however, by irregular migratory movements. Indeed, in the face of the perceived threat posed by this phenomenon, States have introduced a series of measures to deter or prevent migrants from gaining unauthorised entry into their territories. The blanket enforcement of such measures makes it increasingly difficult for refugees and asylum-seekers to secure access to international protection. With this concern in mind, UNHCR must stress that the Action Plan contained in the Commission Communication on a Common Policy on Illegal Immigration and subsequently adopted by the Member States strike a proper balance between migration control priorities and refugee protection imperatives.

Download this resource: PDF icon UNHCR-0207.pdf

This report details the abuses, including illegal detainment, physical, sexual, and social violence, perpetrated by law enforcement, legal, and social agencies against sex workers in Cambodia.

54/158. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

The General Assembly,

Reaffirming once more the permanent validity of the principles and norms set forth in the basic
instruments regarding the international protection of human rights, in particular the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of

Download this resource: PDF icon UN-000208-E.pdf

The Annotated Guide to the new UN Trafficking Protocol is a tool to assist advocates in the development of a human rights framework for national anti-trafficking laws and policies. In December 2000, the UN adopted international instruments to fight transnational organized crime and additional agreements or protocols to combat trafficking in persons, smuggling and firearms.

Download this resource: PDF icon UN-TRAFFICK.pdf

Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights
and Human Trafficking
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights to the Economic and Social Council.

You can download this 16 page PDF resource above. This resource is in English.

Download this resource: PDF icon UN-E2002-68.pdf

This report is the result of a year’s work of the Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings. The main assignment of the Experts Group is to contribute to the translation of the Brussels Declaration into practice, in particular by submitting a report to the European Commission with concrete proposals on the implementation of the recommendations of the Brussels Declaration.

Download this resource: PDF icon EU-TRAFFICKING-04.pdf

This letter was sent to Michel Sidibe to request a meeting to address concerns about the Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work, as well as to build collaboration and address the need for a working group specifically for HIV and Sex Work.

This Guidance Note addresses the urgent need to provide and increase access to HIV programming for sex workers of all genders, HIV positive or negative. The Millennium Development Goals such as girls education, gender equality and poverty reduction, form the background contextual setting for this document. This Guidance Note will assist UN agencies and UNAIDS country programmes to develop sex work and HIV policy and services that are in line with governments commitments to improve their response to HIV/ AIDS, and with the ultimate objective of moving towards Universal Access to comprehensive prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.

This Guidance Note has been developed to provide a unified approach by the UNAIDS Cosponsoring agencies to the reduction of HIV vulnerabilities in the context of sex work, where sex workers are defined as adults, 18 years and over. Its specific focus is the urgent need to provide access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for all sex workers, and to provide life choices and occupational alternatives to sex work, including for sex workers living with HIV.

Download this resource: PDF icon unaids-guidance-note-april-2007.pdf