Resources

Trafficking in persons has generated increasing global attention in recent decades, largely due to the development of international frameworks, pressure from fundamental feminist and abolitionist groups, and as a reaction to increased migration for labour. International policies on trafficking frequently contain vague or ambiguous language, which can cause harm to sex workers in a number of ways.

Societal stigma and punitive legal frameworks often severely impede key populations’ rights to raise families free from interference and discrimination. The experiences of key population groups (gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender people) are diverse, and are informed by varying levels of criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, and individual factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, race, and health status. This paper explores these challenges, and provides recommendations for policymakers.

A growing number of countries are considering or implementing sex work law reform focusing on ‘ending demand’, which criminalises the purchase of sexual services. This Policy Brief outlines the impact of ‘end demand’ legislation on the human rights of female sex workers, through research and testimony from NSWP members in countries where paying for sex is criminalised. This document explores how these laws not only fail to promote gender equality for women who sell sex, but actively prevent the realisation of their human rights.

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.

NSWP welcomes the launch today of the ‘Prevention and Treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for sex workers in low- and middle-income countries: Recommendations for a public health approach’. The guidance was developed jointly with WHO,UNFPA, UNAIDS and NSWP who conducted the qualitative survey of sex worker values and preferences relating to the interventions being considered.

The report is designed for use by national public health officials and managers of HIV/AIDS and STI programmes, NGOs and health workers, but will also be of interest to international funding agencies, health policy-makers and advocates. It  combines good practice recommendations derived from ethics and human rights principles, with technical evidence-based recommendations supported by scientific evidence AND the lived experiences of sex workers across the globe.

NSWP particularly welcomes the recommendations that governments should work towards the decriminalisation of sex work and elimination of the unjust application of non-criminal laws and regulations against sex workers which exacerbate sex workers vulnerability to HIV and STIs. In addition we welcome the recommendation that HIV prevention and treatment programmes need to include interventions to enhance community empowerment among sex workers that is sex worker-led and we particularly welcome the recommendation set out in the document that redefines the ethical use of periodic presumptive treatment (PPT) for sex workers.  It emphasises that PPT should only be used as an emergency short term measure under the strictest of conditions and while comprehensive sexual health services are being developed and that PPT must only be offered if its uptake is voluntary, not imposed as part of a coercive or mandatory public health regime.

Theme: Health