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This Briefing Note outlines the key areas within social protection systems that must be addressed in order to meet the needs of sex workers.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Sex Work as Work policy brief. It summarises international frameworks that address work and the right to work, and particularly, sex work as work. It shows the benefits of viewing sex work as work through a labour approach. It also summarises the consultation with NSWP members about what decent work would look like in the context of sex work.

This global policy brief looks at sex work through a labour framework, and advocates for the recognition of sex work as work. Where sex work is criminalised, sex workers’ workplaces are often excluded from national labour laws. This creates an environment where sex workers have no option but to accept exploitative working conditions. As a result, the struggle for the recognition of sex work as work is closely tied to the struggle for decriminalisation. This policy brief outlines the benefits of looking at sex work through a labour approach. A community guide is also available.

STAR-STAR, a sex workers' collective in the Balkans, has published Voluntary Sex Work. They interviewed 73 sex workers in the city of Skopje. Their key research objectives were to understand sex workers' attitudes and perceptions towards voluntary sex work and the legalisation of sex work, to raise the general population's awareness about sex work, and finally, to present the advantages and disadvantages of sex work legalisation. 

Theme: Labour

Research for Sex Work 15: Resistance and Resilience is a peer-reviewed publication for sex workers, activists, health workers, researchers, NGO staff and policy makers. It is available in English and French. All issues of Research for Sex Work can be found here

This resource commences by quoting Ronald Weitzer, who notes "the management of prostitution is one of the most invisible aspects of the trade". It goes on to discuss common prohibitionist discourse around sex work, that situates all possible study on the topic on a continuum between deviance and violence, before highlighting that this limited binary is "diametrically opposed to much of the scholarly literature, and, more importantly, to what sex workers are asserting - namely, that sex work is work".

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This article looks at how legalisation came to the netherlands; what it was intended to do, and what the impact has been on sex workers. In order to answer these lines of enquiry, the article examines what discourses frame the major actors in this debate, starting with a historical overview of Dutch sex work policies throughout the 20th century. Having established the socio-political backdrop of the Netherlands' approach to legalised sex work, the resource discusses how legalisation (or regulationism) "did not solve a number of serious problems in the sex industry".

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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.

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This is the English version of the Specialist Submission, by the UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work, to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

Download this resource: PDF icon Global Commission AG 29 Aug 11.pdf

This report is submitted by the Best Practices Policy Project, Desiree Alliance, and the Sexual Rights Initiative. It focuses on civil and human rights violations of those engaged, or perceived to be engaged, in sexual trade and sex work in the U.S..

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