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Summary: Economic Empowerment Regional Reports

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.

Economic Empowerment: Does Rehabilitation Have a Role?

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.

Asia and the Pacific Regional Report: Sex Workers Demonstrate Economic and Social Empowerment

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.

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Overcoming Practices that Limit Sex Worker Agency in the Asia Pacific Region

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.

"Custody and Education": Arbitrary Detention for Female Sex Workers in China

The Chinese government is arbitrarily detaining sex workers through a flawed government policy purportedly aimed at education and rehabilitation, Asia Catalyst said in a new report released in December 2013.

The report documents excessive use of force by police in the detention of female sex workers, as well as the women's subsequent incarceration in the little-known "Custody and Education (C&E)" system.