News Archive: April 2013

In what is becoming an increasingly innovative mechanism for challenging country reports on the CEDAW treaty, two organisations have recently submitted CEDAW shadow reports. 

You can read the most recent shadow reports from the Sex-Worker Forum of Vienna and SZEXE which appear on our website.   

We think that member organisations may find these reports useful as guidance if they wish to submit their own shadow country reports in the future. 

For example, the next (55th) session of CEDAW will take place from 8th-26th July 2013 and will be looking as reports from the following countries:

  • Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Serbia and United Kingdom

You can keep up to date on the reporting schedule and find guidance on how to report, etc. on the CEDAW website here.

NSWP has begun collating any CEDAW shadow reports that other sex work organisations are happy to share, on our website under this CEDAW tag.  If your organisation has submitted a report and you are happy to have it featured on our website please contact us.

12 April 2013

NSWP Statement

NSWP condemns the recent decision by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) to cancel their agreement with Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) to provide a venue for the upcoming ‘Sex Workers’ Rights and Community Building Festival’.

The ‘Sex Workers’ Rights and Community Building Festival’ brings together sex workers and allies from across the world and has attracted worldwide attention and public interest. It provides opportunities for both sex workers and other experts to share ideas and experiences, organise for sex workers’ rights, and strategise around resisting harmful laws and policies. The decision to organise this festival in Scotland is extremely timely in light of recent attempts to criminalise those who purchase sexual services (known as the ‘Swedish Model’). This approach is one that has been criticised heavily by NSWP and our members as it negatively impacts upon the health and human rights of sex workers. 

Sex work is recognised as informal labour by International Labour Organisation and sex workers are protected under ILO Recommendation 200[1]. NSWP regrets and condemns the decision of STUC to take an approach to sex workers' rights that sits in contradiction to the recommendations of the ILO. This position is a clear dismissal of sex workers as deserving of trade union support and undermines their fundamental human right to organise and unionise.

In a statement the STUC claimed their decision was taken because the title of the event diametrically contradicts the STUC position – and yet the title of the event to have been held in the STUC building is ‘Looking at Laws and Policies that Impact on Sex Workers and Strategies for Resistance and Change.’, not as claimed “The Scottish Context: Opposing Criminalisation of Clients.”, which is the topic of one presentation by SCOT-PEP representing Scottish sex workers perspectives.  The STUC decision clearly represents an attempt to stifle the voices of sex workers and evidence-based debate on the current discourse in Scotland and beyond. It should also be noted that the STUC did not refuse to host this event but cancelled the booking at very short notice after publicity materials had been produced and distributed, at significant cost to a poorly-resourced sex worker rights movement.

NSWP urge the STUC to review their position in relation to supporting sex workers to organise, rather than be part of the system that oppresses sex workers. Sex work is work and sex workers must be afforded the same labour rights as any other workers. Any political perspective or legal framework that refuses to acknowledge this violates the human rights of sex workers.

6 April 2013