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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.

This systematic review and meta-analysis, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), has found that sex workers who have experienced 'regressive policing' (including arrest, extortion and violence from police), are three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence. The study examines the impacts of criminalisation on sex workers’ safety, health, and access to services, using data from 33 countries. Sex workers' health and safety was found to be at risk not only in countries where sex work was criminalised, but also in Canada, which has introduced the “Nordic model”, where purchasing sex is specifically criminalised.

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 Smart Guide builds on NSWP’s existing toolkit on the 'Nordic model’, and looks at the harms caused to sex workers in countries where the Nordic Model has been introduced. It draws on the experiences of NSWP members, using submissions, in-depth interviews and case studies gathered through a consultation process.

Theme: 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.

This ICRSE briefing paper explores the diverse experiences and realities of LGBT sex workers and the intersection of LGBT rights and sex workers’ rights. It also calls upon the LGBT movement to build an alliance with sex workers and their organisations and actively support sex workers’ rights and the decriminalisation of sex work.

Theme: Human Rights

This articles outlines the benefits and shortcomings of German sex work laws. It also describes the danges of  forthcoming revisions to Germany's policies. This article was written by Hydra e.V. and pubished as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.

This report by Scarlet Alliance outlines core principles in sex work law reform. The principles are an integral source of information and reference for politicians, government bodies, advocates, health providers, community sectors, current and potential sex workers, and sex industry owners and managers. They are the outcome of a five-stage consultation process with the Scarlet Alliance membership, including sex workers from a range of organisations and locations and with diverse experiences and backgrounds.

Today marks the 12th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. For twelve years, sex workers have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers. The issues faced by sex workers vary from region to region. These differences are due to different laws, social and cultural contexts, but one common issue faced by all sex workers is their vulnerability to and experience of violence.

Theme: Violence

This is a Community Guide to the Advocacy Toolkit: The Real Impact of the Swedish Model on Sex Workers, a collection of papers on the harmful Swedish model. It can be used to challenge the widespread promotion of this detrimental legal and political approach to the regulation of sex work.

This Advocacy Toolkit is a collection of eight evidence-based fact sheets and advocacy tools on the harmful Swedish model. It can be used to challenge the widespread promotion of this detrimental legal and political approach to the regulation of sex work. A Community Guide is also available.

NSWP statement strongly condemning the recent report released by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security for failing to recognise the grave violations to Norwegian sex workers’ human rights that are taking place with state impunity under the current model that bans the purchase of sex. NSWP urges the Norwegian Government to listen to the experiences of sex workers and acknowledge that the criminalisation of the purchase of sex in Norway is resulting in health and human rights violations of sex workers.

This briefing paper describes the different legislative frameworks used to criminalise and oppress sex work and sex workers, including oppressive regulatory frameworks. It also provides insight into the language and shared principles that NSWP members use when advocating for law reforms that respect and protect sex workers’ human and labour rights.

On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a landmark decision that substantially reshaped Canada’s legal framework regarding adult sex work. The case of Bedford v. Canada resulted in the striking down of three provisions of the Criminal Code: the communication, bawdy-house and living on the avails laws. The Court found that these three provisions violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) given their negative impact on sex workers’ security of the person.

Download this resource: PDF icon My_Work_Should_Not_Cost_Me_My_Life.pdf

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) have released a statement strongly condemning the recent EU Parliament vote on the flawed report prepared by MEP Mary Honeyball.

This resource builds on INCITE's substantial background in issues faced by women of colour, criminalised or street-based communities, and queer and trans youth, particularly around police and state violence. It focuses on how "police violence against sex workers is not perceived by mainstream organisations as either police brutality, or violence against women, when it is clearly a manifestation of both".

You can download this 4 page PDF resource above. this resource is in English.

Download this resource: PDF icon 4668_toolkitrev-sexwork.pdf

This reference text seeks to "clarify terms and illustrate examples of alternatives to the use of criminal law as a response to sex work". It provides capsule definitions - with small case-studies or examples - of what a variety of laws and policies look like in terms of their impact on sex work, covering criminalisation, legalisation, and decriminalisation, along with a mini-discussion of other laws that are used against sex workers, such as the criminalisation of HIV transmission, or immigration enforcement.

Download this resource: PDF icon sex-work-laws-policies-20120713[1].pdf

Published as part of Research for Sex Work 13: HIV and Sex Work – The view from 2012.

You can download this 3 page PDF article above.  This article is in English & Chinese.

Theme: Health