Research for Sex Work-NSWP

The Research for Sex Work journal, published annually by NSWP and peer-reviewed by sex workers, explores a different theme in each issue. The first seven issues of Research for Sex Work were published by VU University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. NSWP took over publishing Research for Sex Work in 2004, under the guidance of an NSWP editorial board. Since 2004 all submissions are reviewed by sex workers – making it truly peer-reviewed by experts in sex work.

Scarlet Alliance and AIC RESEARCH ON MIGRANT SEX WORKERS IN AUSTRALIA

Scarlet Alliance and AIC RESEARCH ON MIGRANT SEX WORKERS IN AUSTRALIA

In this report the Australian Institute of Criminology, in partnership with Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, presents one of the first pieces of research specifically conducted on the work and migration experiences of migrant sex workers in Australia. Importantly this is the largest project of migrant sex workers in Australia to date with involvement of migrant sex workers at all levels of the research process - from the design and conception of the research and survey to the reporting and analysis. The report is available to view and download from the Link

COLLATERAL DAMAGE: THE IMPACT OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING MEASURES ON HUMAN RIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD (GLOBAL ALLIANCE AGAINST TRAFFIC IN WOMEN, 2006)

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Three countries in the Asia Pacific feature in this global research by GAATW (Australia, India, and Thailand). The research looks at the human rights impact of anti-trafficking policies on people living and work in these countries, or migrating in or out. It concludes that the available evidence suggests marginalised communities have suffered unacceptably negative consequences as a result of anti-trafficking efforts, and that enforcing law is not the same as upholding human rights.

REPORT OF THE PROSTITUTION LAW REVIEW COMMITTEE ON THE OPERATION OF THE PROSTITUTION REFORM ACT 2003 (GOVERNMENT OF NEW ZEALAND, 2008)

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This is the report of the New Zealand government committee tasked with reviewing the impact of the decriminalisation of sex work in New Zealand. The report is the result of five years of work and reviews the significant quantitative and qualitative research exercises conducted during this time in collaboration with academics and universities in New Zealand. It concludes that the new law: "safeguards ... the right of those under 18 not to be used in sex work; the right of adults not to be forced to engage in sex work, including the right to refuse a particular client or sexual practice; and the right not to be subject to exploitative, degrading employment practices."(The report is normally available via the Government of New Zealand website, but is temporarily offline due to restructuring of that site.)

REPORT OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT OF EVERYONE TO THE ENJOYMENT OF THE HIGHEST ATTAINABLE STANDARD OF PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

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REPORT OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT OF EVERYONE TO THE ENJOYMENT OF THE HIGHEST ATTAINABLE STANDARD OF PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH (REPORT TO 14TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 2010)

This report was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in 2010 and examines the relationship between the right to health and the criminalisation of three forms of private, adult consensual behaviour: same-sex conduct and sexual orientation, sex work, and HIV transmission. The report recommends States immediately decriminalize consensual same-sex conduct; repeal discriminatory laws relating to sexual orientation and gender identity; repeal all laws criminalizing sex work and practices around it; repeal laws criminalising unintentional transmission of or exposure to HIV; introduce monitoring and accountability mechanisms to ensure the right to health; and provide human rights education for health professionals.

RISKY BUSINESS KIRIBATI: HIV PREVENTION AMONGST WOMEN WHO BOARD FOREIGN FISHING VESSELS TO SELL SEX (UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES, 2010)

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This report documents the findings of qualitative research with women who engage in sex work on board foreign boats in Kiribati. The purpose of the research was to inform HIV prevention strategies and programs for this group. The report recommends peer outreach programs, and identifies the need to address stigma and marginalisation as well as wider issues of poverty, gendered economic inequality, domestic violence and violence against women within Kiribati society. 

RISKY BUSINESS: SEX WORK AND HIV PREVENTION IN FIJI (UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES, 2010)

RISKY BUSINESS: SEX WORK AND HIV PREVENTION IN FIJI (UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES, 2010)

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This report is the result of in-depth interviews with 40 female and transgender sex workers in Fiji, representing a broad range of local sex workers and their circumstances. It concludes that an enabling environment for HIV prevention interventions is essential to an effective response to the threat of HIV, including the important role of sex workers and sex worker support organisations. The report warns that as the law and police crack-downs are used to attempt to eradicate sex work, this will drive sex work underground, and will be detrimental to efforts to reduce HIV transmission risk.

SEX WORKERS AND HIV PREVENTION IN FIJI - AFTER THE FIJI CRIMES DECREE 2009 (UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES, 2011)

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This research investigates the impact of the Fiji Crimes Decree law, passed by the military government in 2009. The law created a wider range of offences related to sex work, including criminalisation of clients. A key finding of the research was the unexpected and unpredicted role played by military personnel in the policing of sex work, including harassment and violence, after the law was passed. The research also found sex workers had to be more covert and carry fewer condoms, and newer sex workers were reluctant to be associated with more experienced workers who share advice on health and safety. Other consequences included fewer clients, lower prices, and increased competition between sex workers, leading to increases in client negotiating power and increased client preferences for younger, less visibly identifiable sex workers. NGOs and organisations that had previously supported sex workers stopped distributing condoms as a result of police and military raids on the streets. Sex worker groups were also affected, making their work more dangerous and difficult.

HIT AND RUN: TRUE STORIES OF RAIDS AND RESCUES (EMPOWER FOUNDATION, 2011)

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Landmark research by sex workers from Empower Foundation looking at the impact of anti trafficking policy and practice on sex worker’s human rights. "We have been spied on, arrested, cut off from our families, had our savings confiscated, interrogated, imprisoned and placed into the hands of the men with guns, in order for them to send us home... all in the name of “protection against trafficking”. It’s rubbing salt into the wound that this is called helping us. We are grateful for those who are genuinely concerned with our welfare ... but we ask you to listen to us and think in new ways."

SEX WORK AND THE LAW IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:  LAWS, HIV AND HUMANRIGHTS IN THE CONTEXT OF SEX WORK (UNDP, 2012)

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SEX WORK AND THE LAW IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:  LAWS, HIV AND HUMANRIGHTS IN THE CONTEXT OF SEX WORK (UNDP, 2012)

This 226 page report was the result of a thorough collaborative and consultative process with contributions from many stakeholders including technical experts, community sex worker organizations and individuals, and UN agencies. The study examined the diversity of laws that affect HIV responses in the context of sex work in the Asia Pacific region; assessed the  impact of laws, legal policies and law enforcement practices; and made recommendations for actions required to create enabling legal and policy environments for HIV responses in the context of sex work.Findings on laws, policies and practices that are harmful to HIV responses:

  1. Criminalization of sex work

  2. Punitive law enforcement practices

  3. Confiscation of condoms

  4. Criminalization of clients

  5. Licensing or registration

  6. Mandatory, compulsory or coerced testing

  7. Lack of labour rights and social security rights

  8. Denial of identity documents and citizenship rights

  9. Compulsory detention centres

  10. Anti-trafficking laws, policies and practices

  11. 100% Condom Use Programmes (CUPs)

Conclusions

  • Legal empowerment of sex worker communities underpins effective HIV responses

  • Positive public health and human rights outcomes have been achieved in

  • jurisdictions that have decriminalized sex work

  • Licensing and registration models have not been effective

THE HIV AND SEX WORK COLLECTION: INNOVATIVE RESPONSES IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (UNFPA, UNAIDS, APNSW, 2012)

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THE HIV AND SEX WORK COLLECTION: INNOVATIVE RESPONSES IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (UNFPA, UNAIDS, APNSW, 2012)

A collection of case studies highlighting the work undertaken by sex worker-led community based organisations and networks in undertaking HIV related advocacy efforts. The collection was a result of collaboration between UNFPA, UNAIDS and APNSW. It specifically focuses on eleven APNSW member organisations from across a diverse range of countries within the Asia and Pacific region.

CRIMINALISING CONDOMS: HOW POLICING PRACTICES PUT SEX WORKERS AND HIV SERVICES AT RISK IN KENYA, NAMIBIA, RUSSIA, SOUTH AFRICA, THE UNITED STATES AND ZIMBABWE (OSF, 2012)

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CRIMINALISING CONDOMS: HOW POLICING PRACTICES PUT SEX WORKERS AND HIV SERVICES AT RISK IN KENYA, NAMIBIA, RUSSIA, SOUTH AFRICA, THE UNITED STATES AND ZIMBABWE (OSF, 2012)

This multi-country study observed the practice of police actively stopping and searching sex workers for condoms, either to destroy, confiscate or to use them as evidence to arrest sex workers. The report also reveals that in most cases police went onto harass, physically assault and sexually abuse sex workers who carried condoms on them. Police used the threat of arrest on the grounds of condom possession to extort and exploit sex workers. The report concludes that criminalising sex work and the use of condoms as evidence leaves sex workers particularly vulnerable to sexual infections and police abuse.

GLOBAL COMMISSION ON HIV AND THE LAW: RIGHTS, RISKS AND HEALTH (2012) 

GLOBAL COMMISSION ON HIV AND THE LAW: RIGHTS, RISKS AND HEALTH (2012) 

The Global Commission on HIV and the LAW was an independent body convened by UNDP, on behalf of UNAIDS. Fourteen commissioners undertook extensive research, consultation, analysis and deliberation over a period of 2 years to examine links between legal environments and HIV responses. The final report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law presents a coherent and compelling evidence base on human rights and legal issues relating to HIV. 

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Report of the Eviction of Tangail Brothel (APNSW, July 2013)

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The Tangail brothel complex in Bangladesh is over 200 years old. The property originally belonged to a wealthy zamindar (landowner), but over time was sold to the sex workers who lived there. In July 2014, a violent mob attacked the area and forcibly displaced the residents, most of whom were sex workers, and looted their property. After a long struggle and investigation by sex workers rights groups including APNSW, the property was finally restored to the rightful owners. No brothel evictions have taken place in Bangladesh since.



Sex Workers Demonstrate Economic and Social Empowerment – Regional Report Asia and the Pacific (NSWP, 2014)

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A series of case studies that document positive examples of sex worker-led economic empowerment projects, and the negative impacts of forced rehabilitation programmes on the lives of sex workers. This report covers the USHA Cooperative financial services for sex workers in India, and how this model inspired a similar project led by AMA in Myanmar. It looks at the informal education and legal aid work of WNU in Cambodia. It documents strategies to reduce violence and increase earnings by VAMP in India. It compares the work of OPSI and YKP in Indonesia, and looks at two projects from Thailand: the “Can do” Bar by Empower Foundation, and the work of SWING.

HIV and Sex Workers (The Lancet, 2014)

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This special edition of the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, consists of a series of seven papers investigating the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide. It calls for the decriminalisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The papers outline how stigma, discrimination and criminalisation in societies cause substantial barriers for sex workers in accessing prevention, treatment and care services. They examine how these social, legal, and economic injustices contribute to sex workers high risk of acquiring HIV, including the need to work “underground” (avoiding contact with authorities) and facing directs risks of violence and abuse.

An infographic accompanying the series addresses some of the myths about sex work and the spread of HIV.

Survey of the Living Conditions of Transgender Female Sex Workers in Beijing and Shangha (Asia Catalyst, Zuoyou, SCMC, 2015)

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Based on research in Beijing and Shanghai this report focuses on the daily life, working conditions, access to services, and legal frameworks for transgender female sex workers in China. The research was conducted in partnership with Beijing Zuoyou Center and Shanghai CSW & MSM Center (SCMC). It found transgender sex workers faced a broad array of discrimination in social and policy frameworks, that prevented access to a wide spectrum of services and legal protections.

Sexual health, human rights and the law (WHO, HRP, 2015)

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This report demonstrates the relationship between sexual health, human rights and the law. Drawing from a review of public health evidence and extensive research into human rights law at international, regional and national levels, the report shows how states in different parts of the world can and do support sexual health through legal and other mechanisms that are consistent with human rights standards and their own human rights obligations.

SWIT – Sex Workers Implementation Tool (WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, NSWP, World Bank, UNDP, 2013)

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Known by sex workers as “SWIT”, the full title is “Implementing  Comprehensive HIV/STI Programmes with Sex Workers – Practical Approaches From Collaborative Interventions.” This 196 page book offers practical advice on implementing HIV and STI programmes for and with sex workers. This is part of a series of guides produced by UN bodies in partnership with communities. (See also the “Smart Guide to SWIT” in the Smart Guides section of this site.)