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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.

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.

NSWP denounces the harassment, arrests and detention of sex workers as part of the recently launched ‘Ujana’ programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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This NSWP Briefing Note provides information about the United States’ recent legislation - The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) -that criminalise online platforms used by sex workers for advertising and information sharing, including for safety purposes. The resource provides details on FOSTA/SESTA and the 'End Banking for Human Traffickers Act', which aims to ‘prevent financial transactions involving the proceeds of severe forms of trafficking'. 

Download this resource: PDF icon U.S.A. FOSTA Legislation, NSWP - 2018

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.

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.

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.

NSWP statement in response to the decision by The European Parliament Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee's to support proposals to criminalise the clients of sex workers.

This NSWP Statement responds to attempts to criminalise the purchase of sex in France. We condemn these proposals which are ideologically driven rather than evidence-based, and incorrectly view sex work through the prism of ‘violence against women’ whilst also irresponsibly conflating trafficking with sex work.

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

This is NSWP's response to the consultation carried out in Scotland (UK) on the Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex.  

This proposal would make it illegal to purchase sex in Scotland. Rhoda Grant MSP, who carried out the consultation, believes that ‘prostitution in Scotland is a form of sexual violence against women and sexual exploitation.’  She believes that ‘prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanising’ and that ‘the majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants.’

You can download this 1 page PDF document above.  This resource is in English.

Download this resource: PDF icon NSWP Rhoda Grant response.pdf

This is the second issue of NSWP's quarterly newsletter ‘Sex Work Digest’. 

This second issue focuses on Opposing Criminalisation.

This resource is in English.  You can download this 5 page PDF above.

Download this resource: PDF icon SW digest 02 Dec2012.pdf
Theme:

This is a summary of the Criminalisation of Clients briefing paper. The criminalisation of sex workers’ clients is often claimed to be part of a new legal framework to eradicate sex work and trafficking by ‘ending demand’. In 1999, Sweden criminalised sex workers’ clients and maintained the criminalisation of third parties such as brothel-owners, managers, security and support staff. The individual selling of sex remained legal. This model is frequently referred to as the ‘Swedish’, ‘Nordic’ or ‘End Demand’ model. There is great pressure in many countries to advance such legal and policy measures. The damaging consequences of this model on sex workers’ health, rights and living conditions are rarely discussed.