This assessment on the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers’ access to health services in Europe and Central Asia was developed by the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) and the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) through consultations with their memberhips.
In February 2016, following pressure from fundamental feminist and abolitionist organisations, the Serbian government criminalised the purchase of sexual services through amendments to the Public Law and Order Act. Sex workers were ignored during discussion that preceded the adoption of the law. Selling sex remains criminalised. Criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services in Serbia has increased sex workers’ vulnerability to violence and marginalisation and reduced their access to services. Police continue to perpetrate violence against, extort money from, and ignore reports of violence against sex workers. Fundamental feminist and abolitionist discourse has increased the exclusion of sex workers from the women’s and LGBT organisations in the country.
With support from NSWP, STAR-STAR collaborated with Healthy Options Project Skopje, The Coalition MARGINS, Stronger Together Association for Support of People Living with HIV, and the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health to develop this shadow report for the 71st CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2018. The report elaborates on the situation of cisgender and transgender women who are sex workers in Macedonia.
In 2016, France adopted a law criminalising the clients of sex workers. This report focuses on the impact of this new legislation on the health, rights and living conditions of sex workers in the country.
The full report and 8-page summary of the report are available above in English and French, and on the Médecins du Monde website.
PION, Norway, with support from NSWP, submitted this shadow report to the 68th CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2017. The report is based on in-depth interviews, conducted over a two-month period, with sex workers and social service providers. It documents how local administrative laws and the criminalisation of clients and third parties increase stigma and discrimination, impede access to justice and health services, and result in arbitrary deportations and evictions.
In 2015, NSWP member Silver Rose submitted this shadow report to the CEDAW committee review of the Russian Federation. The shadow report is based on information collected by Silver Rose during their day-to-day work with sex workers in St. Petersburg, Silver Rose documentation of human rights abuses, and analysis of media representations across Russia.
NSWP members, including TAMPEP, SOA Aids Nederland and PROUD, contributed to this shadow report by Dutch NGOs and CSOs submitted to the 65th CEDAW session. This shadow report documents a wide range human rights violations affecting women in the Netherlands, including transgender sex workers.
The Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) submitted this shadow report to to the 66th CEDAW Session on Ireland. The report focuses on the harms of The Sexual Offences Bill, passed at the beginning of 2017, which criminalises the purchase of sexual services and increase the penalties for indoor sex workers. NSWP has previously reported on this bill and SWAI’s organizing efforts against the bill.
NSWP Member Legalife-Ukraine, in collaboration with civil society organisations representing women drug users, LGBT communities, and women living with HIV in Ukraine, submitted this shadow report to to the 66th CEDAW Session. The shadow report documents discrimination against these communities by police, medical, and social service institutions. It also documents legal discrimination.
Sex Worker Forum-AT has submitted this shadow report to the Committee to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) sixty-sixth session on Germany. The shadow report specifically addresses how Germany’s new sex work legislation, known as the “Prostituiertenschutzgesetz” will hurt sex workers from a gender equality perspective. Germany’s new federal law will come into effect 1 July 2017. It has been criticised by NSWP member Hydra, including in their article in Research for Sex Work 14.
The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN) have submitted the following response to the UN Women consultation on "sex work, sex trade, and prostitution." They voice concerns regarding the limited possibility for sex workers to take part in an internet-based consultation. Many sex worker groups have limited or no access to internet and are not familiar with the language used in the consultation.
The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) submitted the following response to the UN Women consultation on "sex work, sex trade, and prostitution." In their preamble, ICRSE criticizes UN Women's lack of meaningful consultation with sex workers in the development of their policy. They remind UN Women that the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), of which UN Women is a Co-Sponsor, already has developed a sex work policy that is founded in UN Human Rights treaties.
Public Association Amelia, the only organisation that provides services to sex workers, has published their report Documenting Human Rights Abuse in the Republic of Kazakhstan with financial support from SWAN. The report is about sex work, violence, and HIV in Kazakhstan. It describes the violence experienced by sex workers and how this increases the vulnerability of sex workers to STIs.
ICRSE has published their second intersection briefing paper entitled Feminism Needs Sex Workers, Sex Workers Need Feminism: Towards a Sex-Worker Inclusive Women's Rights Movement. This briefing paper explores the intersection of feminist ideologies, women’s rights and sex workers’ rights, and the feminist ideals which are included and supported in sex work activism. It calls upon the feminist movement to consider the growing evidence in support of sex work decriminalisation, build an alliance with sex workers and their organisations, and actively support sex workers’ rights and the decriminalisation of sex work.
UTSOPI, a sex worker organisation in Brussels, have published a statement on increased legal oppression of sex work in various municipalities across the country. The statement below is about the Alhambra area of Brussels where the mayor, Yvan Mayeur, has increased the financial penalities against sex workers and clients.
The Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) has published their report Using CEDAW to Advocate for Sex Workers' Rights in Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This booklet is aimed at sex workers, sex worker groups, organisations working with sex workers, women’s groups, drug users’ groups, LGBT groups, human rights organisations and other allies who want to know more about advancing recognition for sex workers’ rights through the United Nations human rights bodies, and in particular, through the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
NSWP member SCOT-PEP have released a statement against Police Scotland's 'welfare visits' on sex workers who work from home. SCOT‐PEP is seeking an urgent meeting with SNP Ministers to request that the scheme be scrapped. Under "Operation Lingle" the police plan to pilot intimidating visits of this sort in Glasgow ahead of a planned rollout across Scotland. The operation is a clear violation of the rights of sex workers. In SCOT‐PEP's view "Operation Lingle" would undermine harm reduction strategies and destroy any remaining sex worker trust in the police. SCOT‐PEP's opposition to this scheme is shared by leading charity HIV Scotland, who described these raids as ‘concerning’ and called on Police Scotland to reconsider.
This is the 3rd edition of the STRASS newsletter, packed with details of their recent and forthcoming activism events in France as well as a round up of other European news realting to sex work.
You can download this 2 page PDF document above. This resource is in English.
This manual has three main objectives: to present examples of good practice for health and social service providers offering care for migrant and mobile sex workers working in both indoor and outdoor settings, to present examples of different experiences of HIV/STI prevention strategies, as well as introducing and facilitating implementation of innovative tools for specific outreach methodology, peer education, campaigns for clients and advocacy campaigns, to increase and expand good practice actions targeting sex worker and their clients.