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This resource is a Community Guide to the Briefing Paper: Economic Empowerment for Sex Workers. It provides an overview of the full Briefing Paper, and identifies good practice and key recommendations. 

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

The criminalisation of sex work creates a range of barriers for sex workers when it comes to accessing their economic rights. Sex workers face overlapping and mutually reinforcing risks, such as social marginalisation, violence and poor health, which restrict the ability of sex workers to improve their living and working conditions and to achieve economic security. Furthermore, sex workers commonly report a lack of access to bank accounts, saving schemes, loans and legal forms of credit, insurance, pensions, and other basic employment benefits.

Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (USHA) is the largest and the first ever sex worker-led financial institution in South Asia, exclusively run by and for sex workers. Steered by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a sex worker collective in West Bengal, India, USHA provides economic empowerment to sex workers by offering them loans at low interest rates, encouraging short and long-term savings and supporting self-employment schemes.

Download this resource: PDF icon USHA Case Study, NSWP - 2020

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

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

Around the world, sex workers are organising to improve protection of their rights, end exploitation and violence, access appropriate and respectful health care and build movements for lasting change. The Smart Sex Worker's Guide to Sustainable Funding contains practical information on funding strategies for sex worker organisations. It discusses developing a funding strategy, applying for grants, financial management and community-based fundraising.

This is a summary of the findings of the Economic Empowerment: Does Rehabilitation Have a Role? briefing paper and the Overcoming Practices that Limit Sex Worker Agency in the Asia Pacific Region briefing paper. In this summary, NSWP reflects on the impact of economic empowerment programmes for sex workers.

This is a summary of the Asia and the Pacific regional report on economic and social empowerment and the Africa regional report on economic empowerment programmes for sex workers. In this summary, NSWP reflects on best practices for the economic empowerment of sex workers, focusing on elements of successful economic empowerment programmes and describing lessons learnt from programmes that fail.

This Africa Regional Report documents case studies of economic empowerment programmes in 6 African countries: Democratic Republic of Congo; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Nigeria; and Uganda. There are relatively few economic empowerment programmes for sex workers led by sex workers in Africa. As such this regional report evaluates both successful and failed economic empowerment programmes by sex worker-led organisations and non-sex worker-led organisations.

Download this resource: PDF icon SUSO Report Africa. final EN.pdf

This report shares highlights and insights from the four recipients of AWID’s “Innovation Seed Grants” whose projects focused on advancing the rights of sex workers. These projects reflect the culmination of a process of engagement and collaboration between AWID and diverse sex worker groups and coalitions around AWIDs 2012 International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development.

This briefing paper discusses case studies on economic empowerment programmes for sex workers with rehabilitation elements, documented across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda. The case studies highlight factors that negatively affect sex workers’ participation in economic empowerment programmes and looks at some of the key lessons that have been learnt when implementing economic empowerment programmes for sex workers. A summary is also available.

This regional report explores economic empowerment programmes in Asia through case studies through nine case studies. It describes good practice examples of sex worker-led economic empowerment projects and the impact of forced rehabilitation programmes on the lives of sex workers. A summary of the regional reports regarding econoic empowerment is also available.

Download this resource: PDF icon SUSO Asia Pacific Report_Oct2014.pdf

This paper discusses policies and programmes affecting sex workers that limit their economic empowerment. It aims to frame sex work in terms of labour migration, economics and empowering labour environments, rather than in terms of power, disease and immorality. A summary of this paper is also available.

In Southeast Asia, APNSW observed that sex workers frequently move to faraway lands to find more lucrative work and economic enhancement, but are greatly constrained by anti-trafficking policies framed by a belief that no woman will move willingly to work in sex work. Anti-trafficking laws are often used to limit free movement of women in sex work by raiding and ‘rescuing’ them. Though this is ostensibly done to help them escape traffickers, it is mainly used to ‘correct’ their behaviour.

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.

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.

Download this resource: PDF icon ConStat PDF EngFull.pdf

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.

Download this resource: PDF icon APNSW letter Sept 2013 update.pdf

The African Sex Worker Alliance statement in response to the attack on the UN recommendations regarding decriminalisation. ASWA state that they "stand firmly against the radical move by former sex workers and campaigners in the global north, to protest against the decriminalisation of sex workers ... [including] our partners, employees, and clients".

This concise, Canadian resource looks at why we need prostitution law reform, what the decriminalisation of sex work is, how decriminalisation happens, decriminalisation through the court system, and how to support sex workers in law reform. It notes, "decriminalisation alone cannot overcome all of the other injustices that many of us face, but it is a necessary step to protecting and respecting sex workers' rights".

Download this resource: PDF icon StellaInfoSheetTheBasic.pdf

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".

Download this resource: PDF icon ManagementResearch (4).pdf