‘Hands off our clients’ Tool Kit Launched by ICRSE to Campaign against the Swedish Model
The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) has launched an advocacy and activism tool kit aimed at ‘helping sex worker rights collectives, organisations and activists carry out advocacy and activism that influences or challenges specific areas of policy or legislation of Swedish model,’ the ICRSE said in a statement.
Sex workers and sex worker rights activists across Europe are concerned that governments are trying to bring in laws that criminalise clients – often referred to as “the Swedish model” said ICRSE.
‘We are concerned about how these laws will affect us, our work, our rights and our access to health and other services.’
The toolkit, defines sex worker rights advocacy as ‘any action that aims to bring about desired political change in sex work policy, legislation and/or funding. Sex worker rights advocacy is a process of linked actions that, when combined, bring about change and, specifically it’s about effecting policy change. It’s about holding policy-makers and other decision makers to account for the needs and rights of sex workers and our communities. Advocacy can include awareness-raising, education and communication, and behaviour change communication.’
ICRSE further said, ‘Experience tells us that sex worker rights advocacy is most successful when we have a clearly defined desired outcome (what do we want to achieve) with realistic actions (what are we going to do) for specific actors to undertake. Sex worker rights advocacy should therefore always be targeted to a particular group of people asking them to do a concrete action toward a desired political change.’
The toolkit also looks at sex worker rights activism and says, ‘Activism is any conscious individual or collective effort to bring change either on a social, political, economic or environmental level. Activism employs many tactics from local grassroots community-based action to national or transnational campaigning.’
The toolkit challenges the Swedish Model, and do so by ‘identifying the key pillars and sources of power that support the model; the ideas; the organisations, individuals and institutions that support it; understanding the processes through which the decisions will be made and implemented, as well as trying to motivate and mobilise those who are or would be against it.’
The toolkit provides information and various forms of advocacy and activism that sex workers collectives and organizing can utilize to effectively advocate, influence and challenge specific areas of policy or legislation of the Swedish Model. Some of this include effective legislative process and campaigns, putting in place a comprehensive communications strategy, research and collecting evidence showing how the Swedish Model is ineffective and further criminalises sex workers, as well as creating strong inter-linkages and partnerships with allies and stakeholders.
The toolkit is available here (PDF).