This booklet explains how Canada’s criminal laws related to prostitution affect the health and the human rights of sex workers. It recommends changes to those laws to improve the lives of sex workers. This booklet is based on the report Sex, work, rights: reforming Canadian criminal laws on prostitution (click for more information and to download the 124 page report), published in 2005 by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
Where our members work
NSWP’s members are local, national and regional sex worker organisations and networks, across five regions: Africa; Asia and the Pacific; Europe (including Eastern Europe and Central Asia); Latin America and North America and the Caribbean. Members in each region elect two representatives to the NSWP Board of Directors.
All member organisations are required to endorse NSWP’s core values and the Consensus Statement on Sex Work, Human Rights, and the Law. Only sex worker-led organisations and networks have voting rights.
NSWP members are from diverse cultures and have different experiences and organisational histories. Most are independent sex worker-led organisations, some are informal groups of sex workers within larger organisations and some are non-governmental organisations who support sex workers rights. Some member organisations provide services, some focus on advocacy, some on mobilising to reduce vulnerability – all work on human rights issues that affect the health and well-being of sex workers.
You can find our members through the regional pages or by clicking on the red umbrellas on the map.
Note: For both safety and security NSWP does not identify which members are sex worker-led on our website, and members can choose not to be listed on the public website.
Prostitution, the exchange of sex for money and other valuable consideration, is legal in Canada. However, it is difficult for sex workers and their clients to engage legally in prostitution. Four sections of the Criminal Code (sections 210 to 213) make illegal virtually every activity related to prostitution and prohibit prostitution in almost every conceivable public or private place. Sections 210 and 211 respectively make it illegal for a person to keep a “bawdy-house” – i.e., a place regularly used for prostitution – or to transport a person to such a place. Section 212 makes it illegal to encourage or force people to participate in prostitution (also known as “procuring”), or to live on the money earned from prostitution by someone else (also known as “living on the avails of prostitution”).
Le défi du changement » est un titre qui sied bien au rapport du Sous-comité de l’examen des lois sur le racolage de la Chambre des communes, rendu public en décembre 2006. En effet, le Sous-comité n’a pas relevé le défi , qui consistait à recommander des changements législatifs qui sont urgemment requis, au Canada, pour protéger et réaliser les droits des travailleuses et travailleurs sexuels adultes, à la santé et à la sécurité, ainsi que leurs droits humains.
Al proponernos abordar la presencia de mujeres inmigrantes en el sector de los servicios sexuales, teníamos
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.
The RighT guide helps NGOs to assess the human rights impact of anti-trafficking measures. This strengthens their advocacy for more effective, rights-based policies against trafficking. This brochure outlines specific ways that NGOs can benefit from the guide, and gives information on its use. This document includes sections discussing:
Sex workers are frequently omitted from discussions about the links between criminalisation, marginalisation, and increased HIV transmission. At the IAS 2010 conference in Vienna, substantial attention was focused on the negative impacts that criminalisation has on men who have sex with men, injection drug users, and people living with HIV—but very little on its effects on sex workers. Few outside of the Global Village explicitly called for decriminalisation of sex work or mentioned that laws criminalizing HIV transmission and exposure exacerbate the damage already being done to sex workers' health and rights. This article explores this omission, how other hard-hit constituencies have struggled for their place on the HIV/AIDS advocacy agenda, and why the HIV/AIDS field should be actively collaborating with sex workers' rights organisations, particularly on anti-criminalisation work.
Research for Sex Work 12: Sex Work and Violence is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and Russian. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here.
In Uganda, 6.4% of the 33 million people are HIV/AIDS positive. This is a sharp decline from about 30% in the 1980s, when the pandemic first struck the country. The theme for this year’s World Aids Day was: 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. However, Uganda chose to mark the day under the theme to highlight the need for Paediatric HIV/AIDS interventions under the theme “I have a duty to protect every child from HIV/AIDS….. Do you?” The theme reflected Uganda’s national priority in addressing the challenges of the pandemic in the country, with an estimated 25,000 children born each year HIV positive.