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This article explores the origins, use and meaning of the term ‘sex work’. It is written by sex worker and PhD student Elena Jeffreys and was published in Research for Sex Work 14: Sex Work is Work.

This community-based research by the Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) is about sex workers’ experiences of state and non-state violence, and hindered attempts to access justice in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The study was undertaken in sixteen countries of our region, with local research teams comprised of sex workers and allies joining efforts. It provides an insight on how stigma and the criminalization of sex work enables daily violence and repression that sex workers face from police and non-state actors. This entails barriers to accessing legal aid and justice, as well as harm reduction, health or social services.

Theme: Violence

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

A new public health context to understand male sex work

Researching male sex work offers insight into the sexual lives of men and women while developing a more realistic appreciation for the changing issues associated with male sex work. This type of research is important because it not only reflects a growing and diversifying consumer demand for male sex work, but also because it enables the construction of knowledge that is up-to-date with changing ideas around sex and sexualities.

Theme: Human Rights

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

This study gives a legal analysis of the legislative framework and jurisprudence relating to human trafficking in Canada. It also analyses the views of both criminal justice system personnel and SWAN society personnel on the enforcement and use of anti-trafficking legal measures. Contents include:

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The Anti-Trafficking Review is published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), a network of over 100 NGOs worldwide focused on promoting and advancing the human rights of migrants and trafficked persons.

This Review explores what happens to the money and how the money to combat human trafficking is spent that is allocated by governments and private donors to stop human trafficking and to assist people who have been trafficked.

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.

In 1999, the Swedish government embarked on an experiment in social engineering1 to end men’s practice of purchasing commercial sexual services. The government enacted a new law criminalizing the purchase (but not the sale) of sex (Swedish Penal Code). It hoped that the fear of arrest and increased public stigma would convince men to change their sexual behaviour. The government also hoped that the law would force the estimated 1,850 to 3,000 women who sold sex in Sweden at that time to find another line of work.

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

This paper places the development of sex workers’ movements over the past two decades within the historical context of feminist discourses on violence against women. The paper discusses the importance of the discourse on violence against women in framing contemporary abolitionist campaigns that seek to criminalize sex work. It goes on to discuss the contemporary context, including the status of alliances and dialogue between women’s, LGBTQ, and sex workers’ movements, focusing on India.

Download this resource: PDF icon Sex work and Women's Movements.pdf

This resource reflects on a Dutch proposal that would increase the legal minimum age for sex workers from 18 to 21. It aims to understand what is the role of ‘age’ in shaping social protection policies regarding sex work in The Netherlands by analysing the discourses on the meaning of age, shaped by those involved in the design and implementation of policies related to sex work in The Netherlands. The resource seeks to answer the following questions:

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:

On June 4th, 2014 Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. The draft legislation proposes a legal frameworkthat criminalises communication in public for the purpose of prostitution, the purchase ofsexual services, material benefit, and the advertisement of sexual services.

A number of people are excluded from the process and benefits of development because of their sexuality. Policies designed to lift people out of poverty, to provide employment and access to crucial services, all too often exclude those who do not conform to ‘normal’ sexual or gender identities. In many countries, this exclusion is also enforced through law.