NSWP welcomes the launch of the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and its recommendations regarding the decriminalisation of sex work, including sex workers, our clients, our families, and our businesses and managers.
The recommendations are explicit in their opposition to the criminalisation of commercial sex. The recommendations are also clear in calling for countries to repeal laws prohibiting activities associated with sex work including, brothel keeping. States are told to take all measures to stop police violence and harassment, and to prevent other human rights abuses such as mandatory HIV and STI testing.
The Commission makes an important distinction between sex work and forced labour, and condemns anti-trafficking practices and legislation which violate sex workers’ human rights, such as forced rehabilitation, detention centres and the U.S. PEPFAR programme’s anti-prostitution pledge.
While the recommendations call for the decriminalisation of sex work and go some way to recognising sex work as labour, NSWP believes there is need for further deliberation and detail in a number of areas to ensure sex workers rights are fully protected. In particular, the recommendations and discussion around forced labour and sexual exploitation are not sufficiently detailed or nuanced to prevent the continued abuses of the human rights of sex workers, including migrant and undocumented sex workers. There is a need to give further consideration of how labour laws could be used to combat exploitation in commercial sex and in other workplaces. Finally further consideration is required on the recommendations on civil and administrative laws on public order, morality and vagrancy and their implications for sex workers who work in public spaces and their clients.
NSWP will consult our members and further consider the whole report in detail and how it can be used to support our call for sex workers rights. We look forward to discussing these issues in detail at the Sex Worker Freedom Festival, the International AIDS Conference alternative event for sex workers and our allies, in Kolkata 21-26 June 2012.
Full report now available in English, French, Russian and Spanish at http://www.hivlawcommission.org/