Sex workers constitute a key population affected by HIV, with multiple factors contributing to their vulnerability. Around the world, HIV programming falls short of taking these factors into account and actively working towards their reduction. Sex workers are put at risk of exposure to HIV by criminalisation; violence; unsafe working conditions; violations of their human rights; stigma, discrimination and social marginalisation; drug and alcohol use; unequal access to appropriate health services; minimal access to HIV prevention tools (such as safe sex supplies and safer injecting equipment); barriers to negotiation of safe sex with clients; offers of higher fees for unprotected sex; and an absence of HIV-related information targeted at sex workers, due to insufficient funding for rights-based and sex worker led programming. This Briefing Paper discusses these in detail.
This is the Report of the Committee on HIV/AIDS which documents the discussions leading up to the drafting process of ILO Recommendation No. 200 on HIV/AIDS and the world of work (you can download this document as a separate source by following this link).
The first international labour standard on HIV and AIDS in the world of work was adopted by governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives from ILO member States at the International Labour Conference in June 2010.
‘The XXX Forum’ entitled “Celebrating a Decade of Action, Designing Our Future,” was a first of its kind in Quebec. It was a historical moment, a time for dialogue and for sharing our thoughts on how to support sex workers all over the world. This meeting allowed us to consolidate a system for community support by and for sex workers, and to attack the stigma that affects people who do sex work.
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.
This resource is a handout produced by an NSWP member.
It includes five smart and simple tips for maintaining healthy personal boundaries while working in the sex industry.
You can download this 1 page document above. This resource is in English.
The present article was written by a member of NSWP.
The present guide is a companion to a study and has been designed for program planners, policy, and decision makers, and civil society organisations that advocate for and work with FSWs and MSM in programs related to HIV and AIDS. It draws upon key findings from the original study and provides details on how to use data for decision making and evidence-based HIV programs, services, and policies, which address the needs of people living with HIV (PLHIV), men who have sex with men (MSM), and female sex workers (FSWs) in Côte d’Ivoire.
This Report aims to summarize the arguments for and against the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services. It first describes the experiences of Swedish and Dutch legal regulation relating to the purchase of sexual services. In Sweden, there is a wish to abolish sex work by way of criminalising the client. In the Netherlands, sex work is allowed within certain limits (only involuntary sex work comes under criminal rules).
Since 2003, US government funding to address the HIV and AIDS pandemic has been subject to an anti-prostitution clause. This clause requires aid recipients to adopt an organizational policy opposing sex work and requires them to keep away from the “promotion of prostitution”. Simultaneously, the efficacy of some HIV prevention efforts for sex work in areas receiving US government funding has diminished. This article seeks to explain the unintended yet adverse effects of the implementation of the pledge through case stories.
You can download this 13 page resource as a PDF below.
World Report 2014 is Human Rights Watch’s 24th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events through November 2013.
The report touches on sex work and reiterates Human Rights Watch's support for the decriminalisation of sex work.
This is a summary of NSWP's Consensus Statement on Sex Work, Human Rights, and the Law. The Consensus Statement is issued on behalf of NSWP members and the sex workers they represent including sex workers of all genders, class, race, ethnicity, health status, age, nationality, citizenship, language, education levels, disabilities, and many other factors.
The Consensus Statement details eight fundamental rights that sex worker-led groups from around the world identify as crucial targets for their activism and advocacy. Following a global consultation with members, the NSWP Consensus Statement reaffirms NSWP ’s global advocacy platform for sex work, human rights and the law. A 12 page summary of the Consensus Statement is also available.
Harm Reduction International has released a report examining the multiple and varied contexts within which drug use and sex work overlap.
The report provides a snapshot of available evidence on the factors that contribute to vulnerability among people who sell sex and use drugs. It draws on experience from harm reduction and sex work communities to explore implications for practice. Existing programmes that reach people who sell sex and use drugs around the world are highlighted and practical suggestions on how programmes can better serve this overlapping population are offered.
The Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT) offers practical guidance on effective HIV and STI programming for sex workers.
This resource is an OSF briefing paper on the recent findings of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. It aims to highlight the Commission's findings in language that will make the information useful for activists and those advocating for sex workers' rights.
This resource is the NSWP's strategic plan 2013 - 2015, and as such will be useful to sex worker organisations looking for a model on which to base their own organisational strategic document. The stragetic plan will also update member organisations and sex workers about NSWP's planned focus for the next eighteen months.
APNSW's response to Equality now covers APNSW's support for the UN reports the recommend decriminalisation, and notes that Equality Now did not submit a response to the UN consultation.
The National Network of Sex Workers India responds to a new campaign to further criminalise sex workers. In their statement, they criticise the conflation of sex work with trafficking, and reiterate the NNSW-India's support of the UN's commitment to sex workers' rights.
This position paper on sex work from the South African Commission on Gender Equality lays out the reasons and evidence behind the Commission's recommendation that sex work in South Africa should be decriminalised. This resource could be useful for advocacy in contexts where the criminalisation of clients is proposed, as it demonstrates an official acceptance that the Swedish model has failed, and evidences that failure across multiple issues (e.g trafficking, stigma, gender equality).