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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.

MSMGF, NSWP, INPUD, GATE, IRTG, GNP+ and ICW published this resource which concludes with a call to action for renewed commitment to HIV primary prevention strategies that are proactive, address upstream factors, and re-center communities most impacted by HIV. The resource and call to action pushes for HIV and other sexual health services that are led by or done with the community.

Theme: Health

Asia Catalyst has published their report The Condom Quandary: A Study of the Impact of Law Enforcement Practices on Effective HIV Prevention among Male, Female, and Transgender Sex Workers in China. Asia Catalyst conducted 74 in-depth interviews with male, female, and transgender sex workers, 18 interviews with key informants, and 517 responses to a survey questionnaire. The research was conducted in three major Chinese cities. The report found that using condoms as evidence of sex work violates the human rights of sex workers.

Theme: Health

The briefing paper Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for People Who Inject Drugs: Community Voices on Pros, Cons, and Concerns outlines the results of a global consultation by the International Network of People who Use Drugs on PrEP. Approximately 75 people from 33 different countrires participated in the consultation.

Theme: Health

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.

Sex workers are often talked about as facing high rates of violence, significant exposure to STIs, as well as work-related psychological stress. Yet even as sex workers are called ‘at risk’ by researchers and  health professionals, their health needs are unaddressed or unknown in many conventional health care settings. Peer-led health services provider Persist researched sex workers' experiences and with health services, as well as and what sex workers themselves wanted.

Theme: Health

This Policy Brief is a short summary of evidence for action drawn from: The Right(s) Evidence: Sex Work, Violence and HIV in Asia - A Multi-Country Study and recent key studies and guidance including The Lancet Special Series on Sex work and HIV and the WHO Consolidated Guidance for K

Theme: Health

INPUD’s Drug User Peace Initiative created the following resource, A War on Women who Use Drugs. This resource argues that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ is, in reality, a war on people who use drugs, with certain groups being subject to disproportionate abuse, human rights violations, stigma, and police attention. The resource documents the disproportionate harm of the war on drugs to women of colour, young women, poor women, and female sex workers. The resource pays particular attention to female sex workers, describing how female sex workers who use drugs suffer from double discrimination, stigma and criminalisation which in turn increase risks of abuse, violence, STIs and alienation from service provisions.

Download this resource: PDF icon DUPI-A_War_on_Women_who_Use_Drugs.pdf

This publication documents the lessons learned from the process of implementing a four-country research project on sex work and violence through the narratives and reflections of those who participated in the research since its inception in 2011. The publication was commissioned by the Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalization (CASAM) in consultation with APNSW, UNDP, UNFPA and P4P (Asia-Pacific regional offices in Bangkok). Funding for the travel to conduct interviews towards this documentation was provided by UNDP.

Download this resource: PDF icon THE RIGHTS PROCESS.pdf

The regional report of this multi-country study contains findings and recommendations to address violence experienced by sex workers in Asia.  Sex workers experience extreme physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence at work, in health care and custodial settings, in their neighbourhoods and in their homes. This violence denies sex workers their fundamental human rights — to equal protection under the law; protection against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and their right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

Download this resource: PDF icon Rights-Evidence-Report-2015-final.pdf

The Review of the Engagement of Key Populations in the Funding Model global report is a research amongst key populations in eleven countries. It is a publication of the Communities Delegation of the Board of the Global Fund. It identifies six areas of concern regarding the Funding Model of The Global Fund and gives recommendations on how to improve community engagement. The global report is accompanied by a 3-page position paper summarising its conclusions. The areas of concern are: communication and transparency, representation and accountability, influence, safety and confidentiality, resources and strengthening of systems and capacities, culture, respect and authenticity. Recommendations include:

Theme: Health

 A “working paper” prepared as background to Building on the Evidence: An International Symposium on the Sex Industry in Canada

This paper is a result of a research programme in Canada’s sex industry: workers and their intimate partners, managers and clients.

This research is the first large scale quantitative research on sex workers in Fiji. It has enabled an understanding of the nature and extent of sex work in Fiji, rates of HIV and STI infection among sex workers and their knowledge and behaviour around safer sex practices. This research will compliment valuable insights gained from previous qualitative research. The findings from this research will assist in the appropriate targeting and provision of education, resources and health care services to a group previously defined by UNAIDS as a most-at-risk population.

Download this resource: PDF icon IBBS Sex Worker Final Report.pdf

A series of behavioural-biological surveys in 2008 and 2011 in four districts of Karnataka found that mobilising female sex workers is central to effective HIV prevention programming. Defining community mobilisation exposure as low, medium or high, the study revealed female sex workers with high exposure to community mobilisation are:

Since 2003, US government funding to address the HIV and AIDS pandemic has been subject to an anti-prostitution clause. This clause requires aid recipients to adopt an organizational policy opposing sex work and requires them to keep away from the “promotion of prostitution”. Simultaneously, the efficacy of some HIV prevention efforts for sex work in areas receiving US government funding has diminished. This article seeks to explain the unintended yet adverse effects of the implementation of the pledge through case stories.

You can download this 13 page resource as a PDF below.

This study can be used as evidence of the need for governments and health programmes to take the needs and rights of sex workers living with HIV on board!

Although disproportionately affected by HIV, sex workers remain neglected by efforts to expand access to ART. In Zimbabwe, this qualitative research study was carried out to determine some of the reasons sex workers take up HIV referrals and ART initiation.

Theme: Health

There is a growing interest in the evidence that antiretroviral therapy (ART) can be used to prevent or reduce transmission of HIV. The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) have recently released their position paper on the use of ART as prevention. The paper focuses on what this means for the general population of people living with HIV (at the individual level) and what it means for public health (at the population level).

Theme: Health

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.

Download this resource: PDF icon sex-work-laws-policies-20120713[1].pdf

'Criminalising Condoms' details the experiences of sex workers and outreach services across six countries (Kenya, Namibia, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States). It finds that where any degree of criminalisation exists (whether of sex workers themselves, or of activities relating to sex work), condoms are used as evidence of sex work. This forces sex workers to choose between carrying safer sex supplies, thus attracting the deleterious attentions of the police, or working without condoms in the hope that the police will refrain from harassment - but also without the supplies that would protect them from HIV.

Download this resource: PDF icon criminalizing-condoms-20120717[1].pdf