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Amnesty International has released a new report highlighting the routine use of rape, violence and torture by police to punish women sex workers in the Dominican Republic. The report - ‘If they can have her, why can’t we?’ - uses testimony from 46 Dominican cisgender and transgender women sex workers, and reports them suffering various forms of violence at the hands of police.

Theme: Human Rights

Society for Women Awareness Nepal (SWAN) submitted this shadow report during the 71st CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2018. The report elaborates on the situation of cisgender and transgender women who are sex workers in Nepal. It focuses on the social justice and health issues that sex workers in Nepal face.  

Download this resource: PDF icon Nepal CEDAW Shadow Report, SWAN - 2018
Theme: Human Rights

With support from NSWP, STAR-STAR collaborated with Healthy Options Project Skopje, The Coalition MARGINS, Stronger Together Association for Support of People Living with HIV, and the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health to develop this shadow report for the 71st CEDAW Session, which took place October-November 2018. The report elaborates on the situation of cisgender and transgender women who are sex workers in Macedonia.

Theme: Human Rights

17th December 2018 marks the 15th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

For fifteen years, sex workers around the world have used this day to highlight the need for action to end violence against sex workers. The issues faced by sex workers often vary from region to region, 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.

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Theme: Violence

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.

This resource was developed by PROUD, the Dutch union for and by sex workers, and Aidsfonds - Soa Aids Nederland, to explore the extent to which sex workers in the Netherlands experience stigma and violence. A total of 308 sex workers participated through questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions from across the country, engaged in various types of sex work.

This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper on the Homophobia and Transphobia Experienced by LGBT Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and provides key recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders. 

You can download this 6 page resource above. It is available in English, and will be available in Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish soon. 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experience targeted homophobia and transphobia at every level – including legal, political and social. For sex workers who are LGBT, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity adds to and intensifies the discrimination they experience as sex workers. 

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 ‘Smart Sex Workers’ Guide’ provides an overview of the advocacy tools and interventions used by sex worker-led organisations globally to combat violence against sex workers. It builds on the guidance provided in ‘Addressing Violence Against Sex Workers’, chapter 2 of the Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT). This resource may be useful with designing programmes, tools and other approaches to addressing violence.

Theme: Violence

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 13th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. For thirteen 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.

This global statement draws attention to the fact that all sex workers are vulnerable to violence because of the criminalisation and legal oppression of sex work, stigma, and discrimination. This vulnerability to violence is increased for sex workers living with HIV, sex workers who use drugs, transgender sex workers, migrant sex workers, and sex workers that are part of other marginalised groups.

Download this resource: PDF icon Dec 17 Statement, NSWP - 2016.pdf
Theme: Violence

Midnight Blue has published their report Cases of Arrested Transgender Sex Workers which documents the human rights abuses faced by transgender sex workers in detention. Up until June 2016, Midnight Blue has monitoried the cases of 40 transgender sex workers who were arrested in Hong Kong. Many transgender sex workers in Hong Kong are migrant sex workers, and after their detention is complete they are often deported. Midnight Blue is demanding the criminal justice system review the human rights abuses against transgender sex workers in detention in Hong Kong.

Theme: Violence

Public Association Amelia, the only organisation that provides services to sex workers, has published their report Documenting Human Rights Abuse in the Republic of Kazakhstan with financial support from SWAN. The report is about sex work, violence, and HIV in Kazakhstan. It describes the violence experienced by sex workers and how this increases the vulnerability of sex workers to STIs.

Theme: Human Rights

This policy brief on the Decriminalisation of Sex Work in Kenya was written in collaborartion with the University of Amsterdam and NSWP member HOYMAS and KESWA. This policy brief argues that sex workers have the same rights as other citizens in Kenya as outlined in the Kenyan Constitution. The brief describes key instances in which the rights of sex workers as defined by the Constitution are violated in Kenya.

In New Zealand, the Prostitution Reform Act was passed in 2003. Its purpose is to decriminalise prostitution. Following the Act, the Department of Labour, in cooperation with the New Zealand Prostitues Collective (NZPC), developed the Occupational Health & Safety guidelines for the sex industry. This article looks at the development and effects of the New Zealand approach. It was written by members of the NZPC and was published as part of Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.

NSWP is calling on the Turkish government, Turkish police, and the Turkish justice system to take urgent action to uphold the human rights of male, female, and transgender sex workers. Sex workers have the same right to protection from the law and access to justice as other people. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect without discrimination. The occupation and gender identity of sex workers should never be used to deny access to justice, health services, or social services.

According to a 2015 survey by Transgender Europe entitled Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide Project, 79 percent of transgender sex workers interviewed in Turkey reported experiencing police harassment. According to the Project for the Mapping of Violence Against and Legal Support for Trans Sex Workers, one in every two sex workers has experienced violence, and 50 percent of this violence was perpetrated by the police.

Transgender sex workers in Turkey are particularly vulnerable to violence, including from the police. In May 2015, NSWP published an article about seven transgender women who were violently attacked in different cities across Turkey. Two days after these attacks, more than 100 people gathered in Ankara to protest about violence against transgender people in Turkey.