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ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper

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Chairs Assembly and Directors
Forum 2014
Sex work policy discussion
paper
Amnesty International members and staff only
AI Index: ORG 41/014/2014
To: Section and structure !airs A"nesty International
Section and structure #irectors International Secretariat
International $oard %eter $enenson &ouse
'ro": S# (aw and %olicy 1 )aston Street* (ondon +1, 0#+
#ate: 11 -une 2014
SUA!"
This paper reviews the feedback received to date and presents the International Boards proposed
approach based on recommendations from the International Secretariat to address the principal points
that have come out of the consultation undertaken to date.
D#S$!#%U$#&'
This is an internal document, distributed to section and structure chairs and directors and the
International Board.
!(C&('D(D AC$#&'S
Please ensure this document is brought to the attention of the chair and director of your section or
structure.

ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper


Sex work policy discussion paper
Contents
Contents.............................................................................................................. 2
Summary and recommendations.......................................................................3
The consultation responses to date..................................................................5
xternal feedback............................................................................................. !2
"ra#e human ri$hts #iolations faced by sex workers....................................!2
Se! work and gender ine"uality......................................................................#
Appendix !% &roposed policy...........................................................................!'
Terms used in this proposed policy.................................................................$
%hat this proposed policy does not cover.......................................................&
Appendix 2% The context of sex work..............................................................!(
The demographics of se! work.......................................................................'
The drivers of se! work...................................................................................'
)eferences........................................................................................................ !*
In (uly #)*, after discussion with the then International +!ecutive ,ommittee
and detailed consideration by International Secretariat -IS. staff, the IS circulated
a proposed policy position that would call for the full decriminali/ation of se!
work.
0nder the IS proposal, 1mnesty International would call for the removal of all
laws and policies that make se! work a crime -such as laws prohibiting selling,
buying or facilitating se! work, living off the proceeds of prostitution, or soliciting..
1I would not call for the decriminali/ation of violence or other rights violations that
occur within se! work. The proposal would not change 1ls longstanding position
that human trafficking into forced prostitution, or any other aspect of non2
consensual se!, must be criminali/ed as a matter of international law. It would
also not change 1mnesty Internationals clear position that children involved in
commercial se! acts are victims of se!ual e!ploitation.
The proposal is set forth in 1ppendi! and described more fully in the summary
document available on the policy consultation intranet space
-https344intranet.amnesty.org4wiki4display4P,5S%46ome..
The proposed policy was circulated to sections shortly before the #)* I,7.
There were some informal discussions about the proposal at the International
,ouncil 7eeting -I,7. in 1ugust #)*, but the proposal was not officially tabled
at that meeting. Section consultation on the proposal has been ongoing since.
#
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
This paper reviews the feedback received to date and presents the International
Boards proposed approach based on recommendations from the IS to address
the principal points that have come out of the consultation undertaken to date.
Summary and recommendations
1s of ) (une #)$ 8ust over $)9 of 1I sections had submitted written feedback
on the International Secretariat proposal. :f those that did, only four supported
the International Secretariat proposal in full.
In the submissions received, no section advocated the continued criminali/ation
of se! workers. :ver half of the responding sections took the clear view that se!
workers should not be sub8ect to criminal sanctions. These responses suggest
that there is consensus in the submissions received that 1I should oppose
criminali/ation of se! workers themselves.
The responses are more divided on other aspects of the IS proposal, with most
sections taking no clear position on the criminali/ation or decriminali/ation of the
buyer and offering no clear views on the criminali/ation of other third2party
offences. 1bout #;9 of responding sections called for more 1mnesty
International research to inform our position on these aspects of se! work.
+leven sections -8ust under *;9 of those that responded. urged that the
consultation process be e!tended, and other sections e!pressed regret at flaws
in the consultation process.
There is no "uestion that the consultation process could have been handled
much better. 1s noted above, the initial proposal was circulated to sections
shortly before the I,7. Sections were initially re"uested to provide feedback by
#' September, although the date was subse"uently e!tended to * 7arch #)$.
,oncern was e!pressed that the materials the IS sent to sections in September
and :ctober #)* did not present the rationale and evidence base for the
proposal with sufficient clarity, nor did they sufficiently consider the different
perspectives and full comple!ities of the issues involved. There was also
disappointment at some of the comparisons used in the initial documents. The IS
provided a modified proposal in <ebruary #)$ in response to early feedback, but
many sections continued their consultations on the basis of the earlier,
superseded documents. The time for consultation was subse"uently e!tended by
two additional months to the ,hairs 1ssembly in #)$, with a re"uest that
sections provide as much information as possible in advance of the ,hairs
1ssembly to allow us to prepare this paper.
,onsultation to date has suggested a consensus view that 1I can now oppose
criminali/ation of se! workers themselves. The consultation also suggests that
some sections would prefer to have more 1I research before considering 1Is
*
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
policy positions on the criminali/ation of buyers, on other third2party offences,
and on regulation of se! work as a form of work.
The IS continues to recommend a final policy position that calls for
decriminali/ation of all aspects of se! work but acknowledges that there is more
work to be done to enable the movement to evaluate the competing issues. 1s
an interim position, however, it is the view of the IS that it is useful to confirm that
1I opposes criminali/ation of se! workers themselves to focus the consultation
on the principal issues that have emerged and to clarify that 1I can make some
meaningful recommendations when it documents abuses against se! workers.
,onfirming 1Is position on this aspect of se! work should not be seen as the end
of this process. Instead, this approach should be seen as allowing the 1I
movement to focus further consultation on the aspects of se! work around which
there are divergent views.
1t this stage, based on recommendations from the International Secretariat, the
International Board is proposing the following approach3
1s there is general consensus in the submissions received that se!
workers should not themselves be criminali/ed, at its meeting in :ctober
the Board will consider whether it is appropriate and necessary to adopt
an interim policy position to oppose criminali/ation of se! workers
themselves. The Board will then direct that further consultation and
research be undertaken to determine whether the policy should be further
e!tended.
%ith the benefit of the responses received from sections, the International
Secretariat will prepare an assessment of the human rights arguments
and evidence base for the various positions suggested in the International
Secretariats proposal and in sections submissions. This assessment will
be made available to sections in the fourth "uarter of #)$.
The International Secretariat will undertake research on abuses against
se! workers in four countries chosen to reflect the reality on the ground in
different parts of the globe and will make its findings available to the
1mnesty International movement by the first "uarter of #)&.
Sections will be engaged in further consultation in #)$ and #)&.
The International Board will consider the issue further and the feedback
received. The issue will then come to the #)& I,7 for further
consideration.
$
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
The consultation responses to date
1 total of #= sections submitted consultation responses to the International
Secretariat by ) (une #)$. -These responses are mapped in Table .. >early
all responses were from sections in +urope and >orth 1merica. The IS received
only three responses from 1frican sections -1I ,?te dIvoire, 1I @hana, and 1I
Togo., three responses from 1sian sections -1I 6ong Aong, 1I (apan, and 1I
South Aorea., and two responses from Batin 1merican sections -1I 1rgentina
and 1I Puerto Cico..
:nly four sections e!pressed support in full for the IS proposal, which calls for
the complete decriminali/ation of all aspects of se! work.
But & of the #= sections supported decriminali/ation of the se! worker
her4himself, and no section definitively called for the criminali/ation of se!
workers.
The responses were more divided on other aspects of the IS proposal. 7ost of
the responding sections offered no clear view on these aspects of the proposal.
Seven sections supported decriminali/ation of the buyerD three sections
supported the >ordic approach, which aims to discourage demand for se! work
by imposing criminal penalties on buyers. <our sections supported
decriminali/ation of other third2party offences -such as brothel keeping and living
off the proceeds of prostitution., while five advocated the continued
criminali/ation of such offences.
The IS proposal had not called for se! work to be Elegali/edFthat is, sub8ect to
labour regulations -an approach that has been taken in countries including
@ermany.. >evertheless, four sections supported treating se! work as a form of
work sub8ect to labour regulation.
Individual members in several sections urged 1mnesty International to take no
position on se! work. >evertheless, ten sections e!plicitly re8ected a Gno
positionH approach, and only one section definitively advocated such an approach
in the responses submitted to the IS.
+ight of the #= responding sections called for further 1I research before taking a
final position. +leven sections called for further consultation.
<our of the #= sections submitted information about the legal situation in their
8urisdictions without taking a position on the IS proposal.
1 few common observations and recommendations emerged from the
submissions3
&
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
Se! workers human rights should be the key focus of the proposed
policy.
The draft policy should affirm the agency and decision2making capacity of
se! workers and that not all se! workers are victims of violence.
1mnesty International should clearly reaffirm -at the beginning of the
policy. its ongoing commitment to opposing human trafficking, child
prostitution, se!ual e!ploitation, and violence against women.
The proposed policy should note that while decriminali/ation -and law
reform generally. is one component of promoting se! workers human
rights, states have broader obligations to respect and promote se!
workers human rights, address the underlying conditions that lead people
into se! work -i.e. racial and gender ine"uality, poverty, structural systems
of oppression., and provide meaningful opportunities for individuals to
leave se! work.
The proposed policy should include specific gender analysis that
acknowledges that the ma8ority of se! workers worldwide are women, yet
also acknowledges that a wide range of men, women and transgender
people engage in the sale and purchase of se!, and facilitate se! work.
1mnesty Internationals approach to and work on se! work must align with
its past work on se!ual violence, which includes supporting se!ual assault
law enforcement and robust analysis of consent within se!ual relations.
1mnesty International lacks research on the human rights impact of
different legal regimes regulating se! work and dedicated work to
combatting human trafficking, and such research should be conducted
before taking a policy position.
1mnesty International must consider the risks incurred by adopting a
policy on se! work, including with regard to the organi/ations credibility,
funding, membership, and partner relationships. 1n assessment of these
risks can be included in the assessment that will be made available to
sections in the fourth "uarter of #)$.
'
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
Table !. )esponses from Sections+,ther AI ntities
Twenty2nine sections submitted consultation responses to the International Secretariat by ) (une #)$. <ifteen sections supported
decriminali/ation of the se! worker her4himself, while no section definitively called for the criminali/ation of se! workers. Seven
sections supported decriminali/ation of the buyerD three sections supported criminali/ing the buyer -the >ordic approach.. <our
sections supported decriminali/ation of third2party offences, while five advocated the continued criminali/ation of such offences.
<our sections supported treating se! work as a form of work sub8ect to labour regulation. Ten sections e!plicitly re8ected a Gno
positionH approach, while one section definitively advocated such an approach. +ight sections called for further 1I research before
taking a final position, and sections called for further consultation. This table reflects the ISs best efforts to map the responses
received according to the ma8or points of feedback that emerged.
AI ntity -ecriminali.atio
n of sex worker
-ecriminali.atio
n of buyer
/no indicates
support for
Nordic
approach)
-ecriminali.atio
n of third0party
offences
)e$ulatio
n as a
form of
work
Alternati#e
position
su$$ested
1o
position
/yes
indicate
s
support
for no
position
)
2urther
researc
h
2urther
consultatio
n
1I 1rgentina Ies Ies Ies 7aybe >o Ies
1I 1ustria Ies Ies Ies >o Ies
1I Belgium -<r. >o Ies Ies
1I ,anada -+ng. Ies 7aybe Ies ,ase2by2case
calls
>o Ies
1I ,anada -<r. >o
1I ,?te dIvoire Ies Ies
J
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
AI ntity -ecriminali.atio
n of sex worker
-ecriminali.atio
n of buyer
/no indicates
support for
Nordic
approach)
-ecriminali.atio
n of third0party
offences
)e$ulatio
n as a
form of
work
Alternati#e
position
su$$ested
1o
position
/yes
indicate
s
support
for no
position
)
2urther
researc
h
2urther
consultatio
n
1I ,/ech
Cepublic
Ies
1I 5enmark Ies >o >o 7aybe Ies
1I <inland Ies Ies
1I <rance Ies >o >o -
i
. Ies
1I @ermany >o Ies
1I @hana The proposed
1I Se! Policy
is a good
idea, but the
timing is very
inappropriateD
rather than
introducing a
specific se!
work policy,
1I should
address the
rights of se!
workers in the
conte!t of a
general and
universal
human rights
;
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
AI ntity -ecriminali.atio
n of sex worker
-ecriminali.atio
n of buyer
/no indicates
support for
Nordic
approach)
-ecriminali.atio
n of third0party
offences
)e$ulatio
n as a
form of
work
Alternati#e
position
su$$ested
1o
position
/yes
indicate
s
support
for no
position
)
2urther
researc
h
2urther
consultatio
n
framework
1I @reece Ies Ies >o Ies >o
1I 6ong Aong Ies Ies Ies Ies
1I Ireland
ii
1I Israel >o >o >o Prostitution is
not work and
is always
trafficking in
persons
>o Ies
1I Italy Ies 7aybe 7aybe
1I (apan
iii
1B >etherlands <ocus on
wider conte!t
7aybe Ies
1I >ew Kealand
iv
1I Poland Ies Ies
1I Portugal Ies Ies >o
1I Spain Ies >o
=
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
AI ntity -ecriminali.atio
n of sex worker
-ecriminali.atio
n of buyer
/no indicates
support for
Nordic
approach)
-ecriminali.atio
n of third0party
offences
)e$ulatio
n as a
form of
work
Alternati#e
position
su$$ested
1o
position
/yes
indicate
s
support
for no
position
)
2urther
researc
h
2urther
consultatio
n
1I Puerto Cico
v
1I South Aorea 1naly/e
conse"uence
s of position
and consider
conte!t
1I Sweden Ies Is e!isting
policy
sufficientL
>o Ies Ies
1I Swit/erland Ies Ies 7aybe >o Ies
1I Togo Ies Prendre en
considMration
les aspects
morau! et
Mthi"ues
parce "ue
limpact est
rMel dans
certains pays
Ies Ies
)
ORG 41/014/2014 Sex work policy discussion paper
AI ntity -ecriminali.atio
n of sex worker
-ecriminali.atio
n of buyer
/no indicates
support for
Nordic
approach)
-ecriminali.atio
n of third0party
offences
)e$ulatio
n as a
form of
work
Alternati#e
position
su$$ested
1o
position
/yes
indicate
s
support
for no
position
)
2urther
researc
h
2urther
consultatio
n
1I0S1
vi
Ies Ies Ies
Total324 5es3!'
(no section
definitively
advocated
criminalization of
sex workers)
5es36
1o33
5es3'
1o35
5es3'
1o3!
1o3!7
5es3!
5es3* 5es3!!
Source: S!"#$%& "%&'()#*#$%&' %& +,%+%'!- '!. /%,0 +%)$"1 ,!"!$2!- 31 14 5(&! 2414.
i
1 ma8ority of members of 1I <rance who took part in the consultation preferred that 1I take no position on se! work. >evertheless, 1I <rance signed a 8oint letter
indicating that 1I should take a position after appropriate consultation.
ii
1I Ireland suggested additional areas for analysis and offered general comments on the proposal without offering a position on the "uestions reviewed in the table.
iii
1I (apan submitted points raised by its policy specialists and group activists without offering a position on the "uestions reviewed in the table.
iv
1I >ew Kealand provided information on the legal situation of se! workers in the country without commenting on the IS proposal.
v
1I Puerto Cico provided information on the legal situation of se! workers in the 8urisdiction and also provided preliminary information on how that 8urisdictions laws
are enforced in practice without commenting on the IS proposal.
vi
1I0S1 submitted the final report of its Priorities Subcommittee.

xternal feedback
In addition to the many responses received by sections, the IS received feedback directly from
other nongovernmental organisations and from members of the general public on the
proposed policy. 1s of ) (une #)$, this e!ternal feedback included #* individual
responses and #& group letters signed by a total of ;; organisations. This e!ternal
correspondence reflected a range of views, but only #) responses -or appro!imately ;9 of the
total of #&' responses. were against the proposed policy. +!amples of the correspondence,
both for and against the policy, are available on the policy consultation intranet space.
"ra#e human ri$hts #iolations faced by sex workers
Several sections "uestioned whether the human rights violations suffered by se! workers are
sufficiently serious to warrant an 1I policy position.
The IS proposed this policy position because its own research findings and that of other
groups indicate that the criminali/ation of se! work results in serious violations of the human
rights to liberty and security of person, to be free from torture and other ill2treatment, to the
highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to e"ual protection of the law and
e"uality before the courts -and associated fair trial rights.. In some conte!ts, criminali/ation
leads to violations of the rights of se! workers to ade"uate housing and to protection of their
family life, as well as the rights to social security and political participation. In e!treme cases,
criminali/ation can lead to violations of the right to life.
Se! work and gender ine"uality
1s some sections noted, the most common concerns e!pressed in media and by some
feminist groups about se! work relate to its intersection with gender ine"uality and, in
particular, whether se! work is a by2product or driver of gender oppression. <eminist
movements have been debating these issues since the =J)s and have never reached a
consensus.
vii

7ore recently, some in the feminist movement, together with some survivor groups, have
adopted this issue as a ma8or focus of their work, arguing that se! work is principally an
e!pression of patriarchal domination, is universally harmful, and is inherently violence against
women.
viii
This paradigm, which calls for the complete abolition of se! work, has gained
traction in popular debates and has been supported by a number of governments in %estern
+urope in particular, including most recently by the +uropean Parliament.
These groups have also increasingly focused on the criminal law as the key mechanism to
end se! work through the policing, prosecution and punishment of se! work crimes,
particularly as they relate to third2party involvement and the purchase of se!ual services.
i!
This
model also places particular emphasis on the use of the criminal law to communicate societal
messages around the acceptability of se! work and to establish social norms in gender
relations.
!

1pproaches that are influenced by this model have been criticised on at least three grounds.
<irst, approaches that treat all se! work as forms of e!ploitation and trafficking in persons are
at odds with the principle of individual agency that is an underlying aspect of human rights.
!i
Second, they can lead to violations of human rights. <or instance, GrescueH raids of se!
establishments can result in abuses against se! workers. In India and Indonesia, researchers
have found that se! workers who were rounded up in raids were beaten, coerced into se! by
police, and placed in institutions where they were se!ually e!ploited and otherwise suffered
physical abuse.
!ii
Third, criminali/ing those who purchase se! -as opposed to those who sell se!. is sometimes
proposed as a means to reduce violence, promote gender e"uality and reduce GdemandH for
commercial se!. 6owever, as the 0>1I5S 1dvisory @roup on Se! %ork has noted, there is
no evidence that Gend demandH initiativesFthose that criminalise clients of se! workers rather
than the se! workers themselvesFreduce se! work, improve the "uality of life of se! workers,
or tackle gender ine"ualities.
!iii

In fact, police in some countries do not distinguish between se! workers and their clients. Se!
workers are also often treated as accomplices or material witnesses to a crime. The targeting
of clients also works to encourage law enforcement officials to use condoms as evidence of
involvement in se! work.
Appendix !% &roposed policy
Amnesty International opposes the criminalisation or punishment of activities relating to the
buying or selling of consensual sex between adults. This policy is based on the human rights
principle that consensual sexual conduct between adultswhich excludes acts that involve
coercion, deception, threats, or violenceis entitled to protection from state interference
(bearing in mind that legitimate restrictions may be imposed on sex work, as noted below.
This policy is also based on principles of harm reduction! on balance, the available evidence
indicates that the criminalisation of sex work is more likely than not to reinforce discrimination
against those who engage in these activities, to increase the likelihood that they will be
sub"ected to harassment and violence, including ill#treatment at the hands of police, and to
lead to the denial of due process and the exclusion from public benefits such as health
services, housing, education, and immigration status.
This policy recognises that legitimate restrictions may be imposed on sex work if they comply
with international human rights law. $uch restrictions must be for a legitimate purpose,
provided by law, necessary for and proportionate to the legitimate aim sought to be achieved,
and not discriminatory.
This policy does not change Amnesty International%s longstanding position that trafficking into
forced prostitution should be criminalised as a matter of international law.
Amnesty International considers children involved in commercial sex acts to be victims of
sexual exploitation, entitled to support, reparations, and remedies, in line with international
human rights law. $tates must take all appropriate measures to prevent violence and
exploitation of children.
Amnesty International recognises that sex work is a sensitive issue in many of the countries in
which we work. In particular, individuals who engage in sex work often have limited choices.
&uaranteeing human rights without discrimination is the most effective way to ensure the
empowerment of people involved in sex work and the protection of all individuals from
discrimination, violence, and coercion.
Terms used in this proposed policy
$ex work and sex worker. 1mnesty International understands Gse! workH to mean the
e!change of se!ual services for some form of remuneration, in accord with the definition used
by the (oint 0> Programme on 6IN41I5S -0>1I5S..
!iv
The terms used to refer to se! for
remuneration varies across countries and conte!ts. >otably, the terms Gse! workH and
GprostitutionH are sometimes used interchangeably. 7any se! workers feel the term GprostituteH
is demeaning or misogynistic, and organi/ed se! worker groups generally prefer the term Gse!
workerH or Gperson in the se! industry.H :thers use the term GprostitutionH to reclaim and de2
stigmati/e the term and practice. %here possible, 1mnesty International uses the term Gthose
engaging in se! workH or the prevailing terminology used in a particular conte!tD in more
general discussions of this issue, as in this proposed policy, 1mnesty International uses the
terms Gse! workH and Gse! worker.H
'riminalisation. State authorities use a variety of methods to discourage certain behaviour,
ranging from financial incentives to the imposition of criminal sanctions. <or the purposes of
this policy, GcriminalisationH means measures that seek to punish se! workers and clients
through the threat of sanctions such as detention, fines, or e!clusion from benefits or care.
'hild. 1 GchildH is any person under the age of ;, regardless of the age of ma8ority in a
particular country.
%hat this proposed policy does not cover
0nder this proposal, 1mnesty International would not take a position on whether se! work
should be regulated. 6owever, if a state does regulate se! work, 1mnesty International would
call for any regulation to aim at guaranteeing that individuals who undertake se! work do so
voluntarily and in safe conditions and are able to stop engaging in se! work when and if they
choose to.
This proposed policy does not change 1mnesty Internationals longstanding position that
human trafficking into forced prostitution, or any other aspect of non2consensual se!, should
be criminali/ed as a matter of international law. Nictims of such crimes are entitled to
protection and remedies, regardless of their se!, nationality, health status, se!ual orientation,
gender identity, prior work history, willingness to contribute to prosecution efforts, or other
factors.
1s noted above, 1mnesty International considers children involved in commercial se! acts to
be victims of se!ual e!ploitation.
Appendix 2% The context of sex work
The demographics of se! work
It is e!tremely difficult to gauge a reliable global estimate of the number of individuals involved
in se! work because se! workers are rarely featured in official census and other labour data,
given the often illegal and unrecognised nature of their labour in most countries. Narious
studies have shown that figures fluctuate significantly across countries and regions.
!v

>ational estimates on women involved in se! work vary widelyD ranging from between ).#9
and #.'9 of the population in countries across 1siaD between ).9 and .&9 in the e!2
Cussian <ederationD between ).$9 and .$9 in +astern +uropeD ).9 and .$9 in %estern
+urope, ).#9 and J.$9 in Batin 1merica and ).J9 and $.*9 in sub Saharan 1frica.
!vi
In most
cases, researchers strongly underline the limitations of their data and the challenges in
measuring a population that is largely hidden and marginalised. Se! workers omission from
official data also contributes to their e!clusion from social policy making processes.
%hile reliable data are scarce, there is general acknowledgement that cisgender
!vii
females
account for a ma8ority of the se! worker population in most countries. This means that social
policy responses to se! work must consider the gender dimensions affecting womens
decisions to sell se! and4or their reliance on commercial se! as a source of income. 6owever,
states must also take account of other key drivers of se! work to insure that social policy
responses are proportionate, effective, and promote human rights.
The categorisation of se! work as a Gwomans issueH can obscure the significant numbers of
men and transgender people who sell se! around the world. 1 growing number of studies,
mainly within the 6IN epidemiology field, have identified significant populations of transgender
female and cisgender male se! workers. <or e!ample, a #) study in >epal mapped
between J,J)' and =,## transgender and between ),$&) and #,*)# male se! workers
operating in the country.
!viii
The female se! worker population in comparison was estimated to
be between #$,'$= and #;,*&=.
!i!
1 #))J study in Sydney, 1ustralia found that participation
in se! work was reported by as many as $$9 of the transgender population.
!!

5espite accounting for a significant proportion of the global se! worker population, recognition
of transgender and male se! workers viewpoints and needs remain largely absent from public
discourse on se! work policy. In human rights terms this is of concern as transgender and
male se! workers also report high levels of vulnerability.
!!i
:ne systematic review on 6IN risk
among transgender people, for e!ample, found that transgender se! workers were more than
four times more likely to be living with 6IN than female se! workers.
!!ii

The drivers of se! work
Se! workers are not a homogenous group. People of different genders and socio2economic
backgrounds undertake se! work for a variety of reasons and report a diversity of
e!periences.
!!iii

<or some se! workers the decision to sell se!ual services is a matter of suitability or
preference. <or e!ample, for some it offers greater fle!ibility and control over working hours or
a higher rate of pay than other options, or it may be work that they en8oy. <or others, the
reasons for involvement in se! work may be more closely linked to circumstances. <or
e!ample, se! work may be one of a limited number of options open to irregular migrants who
rely on informal economies for work.
!!iv
In other cases, individuals may turn to se! work as a
means of basic survival because of e!treme poverty or other forms of social e!clusion. <or
e!ample, many transgender people report e!periencing high levels of discrimination in
employment meaning that se! work may be one of very few viable options to secure income.
In addition to interpersonal motivations, there are a range of social, political and macro2
economic drivers of se! work. <or e!ample, global economic, social and immigration laws and
policies, unemployment, work restrictions on migrants and discrimination within the formal
economy, lead women and other marginalised groups to rely on low paid work or struggle to
find work at all. +conomic drivers are particularly relevant in the se! work conte!t. Broadly
put, so long as economic ine"ualities e!ist, people will continue to choose to sell se!ual
services, regardless of the criminal status of buying, selling, or facilitating se! work.
1s referenced earlier, gender discrimination also undoubtedly plays a role in women choosing
se! work, as does demand for paid se!. 6owever, characterising all se! work as a
manifestation of gender discrimination based on mens demand oversimplifies a comple!
issue and ignores many of the other important influences in an individuals decision to
undertake se! work.
It is important to acknowledge the diverse nature of se! workers choices and e!periences, as
well as the various drivers of se! work, to conduct robust human rights analysis of se! work.
%hile there can be a tendency to characteri/e all se! workers as desperate, victimised,
psychologically damaged women, this can be harmful and disempowering to se! workers and
does not provide a balanced view of the issues.
!!v
)eferences
vii
7. Biu, (igration, )rostitution, and *uman Trafficking! The +oice of 'hinese ,omen ->ew Brunswick, >(3 Transaction
Publishers, #).D B. 5uggan and >. 5. 6unter, $ex ,ars! $exual -issent and )olitical 'ulture ->ew Iork3 Coutledge, ==&.D
S.7.,. Bo/ano, G<eminist 5ebate around ETrafficking in %omen for the Purpose of Se!ual +!ploitation in Prostitution,H -esaf.os,
vol. #*, issue , pp. #J2#&JD (. :utshoorn, GThe Political 5ebates on Prostitution and Trafficking of %omen,H $ocial )olitics!
International $tudies in &ender, $tate and $ociety, vol.# -#))&., pp. $2&&.
viii
$ee, for example, the 8ustification of the +uropean %omens Bobbys recent campaign, GTogether for the +urope <ree of
Prostitution,H available at http344www.womenlobby.org4spip.phpLrubri"ue;J .
i!
$ee, for example, Aathleen Barry, G1bolishing Prostitution3 1 <eminist 6uman Cights TreatyH, available at
http344www.prostitutionresearch.com4Barry9#)1bolishing9#)Prostitution9#)19#)<eminist9#)6uman9#)Cights9#)Treaty.pdf
.
!
$ee, for example, 7a! %altman, GProhibiting Se! Purchasing and +nding Trafficking3 The Swedish Prostitution BawH -#)..
!i
6uman rights law guarantees freedom of thought, conscience, and religion -I,,PC art. ;., the right to hold opinions without
interference and the right to freedom of e!pression -I,,PC art. =., the right of peaceful assembly -I,,PC art. #., and the right
to freedom of association with others -I,,PC art. ##. In addition, GOmParriage must be entered into with the free consent of the
intending spousesH -I,+S,C art. )-.D accord I,,PC art. #*-*.., and states must ensure Gon a basis of e"uality of men and
women . . . OtPhe same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their childrenH -,+51% art. '-.-e.D
accord Bei8ing Platform for 1ction, Q ##*.. 6uman rights treaties also guarantee individual agency, sub8ect to reasonable
restrictions, in matters as varied as the right to choose ones residence -I,,PC art. #., employment -I,+S,C art. '-.., and
legal representation -I,,PC art. $-*.-b... 6uman rights law protects against compelled self2incrimination -I,,PC art. $-*.-g.
and re"uire Gfree consent to medical or scientific e!perimentationH -I,,PC art. J..
Because persons with disabilities are too often denied individual agency, the principles of the ,onvention on the Cights of
Persons with 5isabilities include GOrPespect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make oneRs own
choices, and independence of personsH -art. *-a..
,hildren who are capable of forming their own views have the right to e!press their views freely in all matters that affect them and
to have those views be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity -,C, art. #-...
7ore fundamentally, the failure to respect the principle of individual agency denies the rights of everyone to recognition
everywhere as a person before the law -I,,PC art. '. and to e"uality before the law -I,,PC art. #'. and disregards the
principle articulated in article of the 0niversal 5eclaration of 6uman Cights that GOaPll human beings are born free and e"ual in
dignity and rights.H
!ii
$ee C. Surtees, GBrothel Caids in IndonesiaFIdeal Solution or <urther NiolationLH /esearch for $ex ,ork N:B. ' -#))*., pp. &2
J.D Sangram, Point of Niew, and N17P, /ehabilitation! Against Their ,ill0 1f +eshyas, +amps, ,hores and ,omen!
'hallenging )reconceived 2otions of )rostitution and $ex ,ork -#))#..
!iii
$ee 0>1I5S, The /eport of the 32AI-$ Advisory &roup on *I+ and $ex ,ork '2J -#). Ohereinafter The /eport of the
32AI-$ Advisory &roup on *I+ and $ex ,orkP.
!iv
$ee, for example, 0>1I5S, GSe! %ork and 6IN41I5S,H 0>1I5S Technical 0pdate -#))#., p. *.
!v
,usick et al. G%ild @uesses and ,onflated 7eaningsL +stimating the Si/e of the Sex 8orker Population in 4ritain,5 'ritical
$ocial )olicy -#))=, p. 678 1deba8o et al, G+stimating the >umber of 7ale Se! %orkers with the ,apture2Cecapture Techni"ue in
>igeria,H African 9ournal of /eproductive *ealth -#)*.D Nuylsteke et al., G,aptureSCecapture for +stimating the Si/e of the
<emale Se! %orker Population in Three ,ities in ,?te dIvoire and in Aisumu, %estern Aenya,H 9ournal of Tropical (edicine and
International *ealth -#))..
!vi
Nandepitte et al., G+stimates of the >umber of <emale Se! %orkers in 5ifferent Cegions of the %orld,H 9ournal of $exually
Transmitted Infections -#))'., p. ;#, available at3 http344www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov4pubmed4'J*&#;; .
!vii
,isgender can be defined as Gdenoting or relating to a person whose self2identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to
their biological se!D not transgender.H $ee www.o!forddictionaries.com .
!viii
6IN and STI ,ontrol Board -6S,B. and the >ational ,entre for 1I5S and ST5 ,ontrol ->,1S,., (apping and $i:e
;stimation of (ost#at#/isk )opulations in 2epal, 6<==, +ol. =, (ale $ex ,orkers, Transgenders and Their 'lients, vol. -#).,
available at3 https344www.unodc.org4documents4southasia44reports47T,TfinalTreport.pdf .
!i!
6IN and STI ,ontrol Board -6S,B. and the >ational ,entre for 1I5S and ST5 ,ontrol ->,1S,., (apping and $i:e ;stimation
of (ost#at#/isk )opulations in 2epal, 6<==, +ol. >, ?emale $ex ,orkers -#)., available at3
http344www.unodc.org4documents4southasia44reports4<S%sTfinalTreport.pdf
!!
6ounsfield, N.B., et al., GTransgender People 1ttending Sydney Se!ual 6ealth Services over a ' Iear Period,H Se!ual 6ealth
-#))J., p. $D Schulden, (.5., et al., GCapid 6IN Testing in Transgender ,ommunities by ,ommunity Based :rganisations in Three
,ities,H )ublic *ealth /eports -#));., p. #*.
!!i
$ee @. Sethi and B. 7. 6olden et. al., G6IN, Se!ually Transmitted Infections and Cisk Behaviours in 7ale Se! %orkers in
Bondon over a ) Iear Period,H $exually Transmitted Infections, vol ;# -#))'., pp. &, *&=S*'*, available at
http344www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov4pmc4articles4P7,#&'*;&)4 D 7cAinnon B.C. et al, G6igh 6IN Cisk in a ,ohort of 7ale Se! %orkers
from >airobi, Aenya,H $exually Transmitted Infections -#)$., p. =).
!!ii
:perario, 5, et al, GSe! %ork and 6IN Status among Transgender %omen3 Systematic Ceview and 7eta 1nalysis,H 9ournal of
Ac@uired Immune -eficiency $yndrome -#));., p. $;.
!!iii
%eit/er, C., GThe 7ythology of Prostitution3 1dvocacy Cesearch and Public PolicyH -#))., available at
http344che/stella.org4docs4The2mythology2of2prostitution.pdf .
!!iv
Those who migrate illegally to earn a better livelihood should not be conflated with those who are forced, defrauded or coerced
to travel to another country for work -i.e. human trafficking..
!!v
There appear to be a number of Gaccepted truthsH about se! work that have entered public discourse in recent decades. In
particular, claims that suggest the ma8ority of se! workers enter the se! industry as children, that most were se!ually or physically
abused as children, are forced against their will to undertake se! work and4 or are addicted to drugs have been shown to be
misrepresentative of a large proportion of se! workers. $ee %eit/er, C., GSociology of Se! %ork,H Annual /eview of $ex ,ork
-#))=.D Nanwesenbeeck, I., G1nother 5ecade of Social Scientific %ork on Prostitution,H Annual /eview of $ex research -#))., p.
#, available at3 http344myweb.dal.ca4mgoodyea45ocuments47ethodology41nother9#)decade9#)of9#)social9#)scientific
9#)work9#)on9#)se!9#)work9#)==)2#)))9#)Nanwesenbeeck9#)1nn9#)Cev9#)Se!9#)Ces9#)#))9#)#$#2
;=.pdf. There is evidence to suggest that some, but crucially not all, street2based se! workers report higher levels of victimisation
and4or drug dependency. $ee id. 6owever, employing claims such as those regarding high rates of childhood abuse, to
characterise a uniform Gse! worker e!perienceH is not supported by evidence.