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This special issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review highlights some of the current achievements of, and challenges faced by, the global sex workers' rights movement. Contributors examine the ways in which organising and collectivisation have enabled sex workers to speak up for themselves and tell their own stories, claim their human, social, and labour rights, resist stigma and punitive laws and policies, and provide mutual and peer-based support.

RAIDED was developed to forefront the experiences of women in sex work who have been raided, rescued and rehabilitated under the provision of anti-trafficking initiatives in India. It examines women’s narratives along with quantitative data about the strategies of raid, rescue and rehabilitation deployed to combat trafficking of women into sex work. The study unravels the impact of laws and policies on the lives of sex workers.

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.

International migration has become a ‘mega trend’ of our times, with more than 260 million migrants living outside their country of origin in 2017. Some move in search of better livelihood opportunities, others flee conflict, environmental degradation or natural disasters, and yet others are deceived or coerced into exploitative work. At the same time, the categories developed by the international community for people on the move—such as smuggled migrants, refugees, or trafficked persons—are increasingly inadequate to capture today’s complex migration flows.

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Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) has released two complementary analyses on prostitution “diversion” programs (PDPs) in the USA: Diversion from Justice: 'A Rights-Based Analysis of Local ‘Prostitution Diversion Programs’ and their Impacts on People in the Sex Sector in the United States'; and 'Un-Meetable Promises: Rhetoric and Reality in New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts'. One is national in scope and the other focused specifically on New York City programming.

Behind the Rescue: How Anti-Trafficking Investigations and Policies Harm Migrant Sex Workers is a report produced by Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network), featuring the testimony of 18 Asian migrant sex workers, who contacted Butterfly when they were arrested, detained, and/or deported between May 2015 and August 2016 in Canada.

Download this resource: PDF icon Behind the Rescue, Butterfly - 2018

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: Migrant Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for policy makers and health service providers. 

You can download this 5-page Community Guide above. This resource is available in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. 

This Briefing Paper explores the human rights barriers encountered by migrant sex workers as a result of their type of labour. It highlights their lack of access to services, as well as the increased precariousness and exclusion they face due to legal restrictions on cross-border movement and work in the sex industry. This paper also places migrant sex work in the context of international labour migration, using consultation responses from NSWP member organisations.

The following is a statement from the National Network of Sex Workers challenging the ‘Last Girl First’: Second World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls (January 29-31, 2017, New Delhi, India) organised by the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International (CAP Intl). 

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Theme: Human Rights

Beyond Trafficking and Slavery have published a sex worker-led anthology Sex Workers Speak. Who Listens? on Open Democracy edited by Giulia Garofalo Geymonat and P.G. Macioti. This anthology addresses the violence, exploitation, abuse, and trafficking present the sex industry. It does so through the perspective of sex workers themselves. The first section is dedicated to contributions from Europe; the second section includes views from Latin America, Asia and Africa; while the third section features some of the arguments put forward by transnational organisations.

Theme: Human Rights

In this article, founding member of Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network, Elene Lam, argues that migrant sex workers are excluded from the North American sex workers’ rights movement. Abolitionist feminists argue against sex workers’ rights by using the missing voices of migrant sex workers. Lam provides arguments for the inclusion of migrant sex workers in the movement to prevent this from happening.

This article discusses sex worker organising in the United States. It's full title is 'United States Organising: It Is Not Okay to De-Legitimise Sex Work Under Guise of Trafficking and End Demand'. It was written by Cris Sardina of the Desiree Alliance, Penelope Saunders of the Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP) and others from local communities in the US. The article was published as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work. Contents include:

This report deals with the various forms of exploitation experienced by migrant women in the labour market and how legislation designed to police immigration and prevent trafficking often fails to protect these vulnerable women. The report also examines the role of the media in objectifying migrant women through their often negative, stereotypical portrayals.

The Global Alliance Against the Trafficking in Women's anthology 'Collateral Damage' reviews the experience of eight specific countries (Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Brazil, India, Nigeria, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The report attempts to assess what the impact  of anti-trafficking measures have been for a variety of people living and working there, or migrating into or out of these

Download this resource: PDF icon CollateralDamagefinal_GAATW.pdf

This article offers a historical account and critical assessment of the prostitution-reform debates’ considerable influence on anti-trafficking law and policy development over the last decade. The article exposes the difficulties of translating anti-prostitution ideology, borne out of closely held moral and ethical beliefs, into effective governance strategies.

This concise guide to the difference between sex work and trafficking - and what a response to trafficking grounded in sex worker rights looks like - discusses the key differences between sex work and trafficking; the differences that make the habitual conflation of the two not only inaccurate but also a hinderance to tackling actual exploitation, and a threat to the human rights of sex workers.

Download this resource: PDF icon KDTD_Human_Trafficking_And_Sex_Work.pdf

Emi Koyama draws out links in rhetoric and tactics between the war on terror and the war on trafficking. She addresses three key myths of the anti-trafficking movement. Koyama demonstrates the extent to which the ceaseless propogation of these myths constitutes a "wilfull ignorance of reality" best understood as a "tacit conspiracy between the promoters of misinformation and its recipients". She locates this "tacit conspiracy" in a preference for the simple fears of scary "bad people" over the more complex, structural fears of "poverty, racism, sexism, neoliberalistic global capitalism, and its assault on the public safety net, homophobia, transphobia, and unjust immigration laws".

Download this resource: PDF icon trafficking_web[1].pdf

The need to reduce ‘demand’ for trafficked persons is widely mentioned in the anti-trafficking sector but few have looked at ‘demand’ critically or substantively. Some ‘demand’-based approaches have been heavily critiqued, such as the idea that eliminating sex workers’ clients (or the ‘demand’ for commercial sex) through incarceration or stigmatisation will reduce trafficking.