Decriminalisation of sex work: the evidence

I’d like to highlight two resources by sex worker-led organisations in Europe.

Decriminalisation of sex work: the evidence (PDF)
English Collective of Prostitutes

 International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE)

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The WHO and sex work decriminalisation

“Globally, female sex workers are 13.5% more likely to be living with HIV than other women of reproductive age; in Asia, female sex workers are almost 30% more likely to be living with HIV.

Modelling studies indicate that decriminalising sex work could lead to a 46% reduction in new HIV infections in sex workers over 10 years; eliminating sexual violence against sex workers could lead to a 20% reduction in new HIV infections.” – World Health Organisation

I would highly recommend policy makers, health programmers, health service providers and human rights defenders to become familiar with the WHO’s publications on sex workers. It’s resources on the health of key populations are immensely well-researched and offer a clear approach to ensuring sex workers’ health and safety.


The World Health Organisation is the global authority on health. Through the WHO, UN member states do research on effective health interventions and decide on international health policy.

One of the WHO’s priority areas is HIV prevention and treatment. In the global HIV response, it has identified five ‘key populations’: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons, transgender people and sex workers.

40-50% of all new HIV infections among adults worldwide occur among people from these key populations and their partners. The WHO states that “without addressing the needs of key populations, a sustainable HIV response will not be achieved.”

It is important to note that, based on its extensive research, the organisation urges countries to fully decriminalise sex work.

There’s two sets of publications I would like to highlight:

Consolidated Guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations

Full Guidelines (2016 update)
Policy Brief (8page introduction and summary of the ful, updated guidelines)
These guidelines are written for governments/policy makers and HIV programmers. The recommendations emphasize that an effective HIV response is dependent on legal protections and decriminalisation, addressing violence, community-empowerment and destigmatisation.
The guidelines were originally published in 2014. The 2016 update includes new research on the use of PrEP.

The Sex Worker Implementation Tool (2013) (SWIT)

Full Document & Policy Brief

In 2013, the WHO published this tool to offer practical advice on implementing HIV and STI programmes for sex workers. It is designed for use by governments/policy makers, HIV programmers and health service providers. The full name of this resource is Implementing comprehensive HIV/STI programmes with sex workers: practical approaches from collaborative interventions. It is usually referred to as the SWIT.


The WHO states: “Topics covered in the tool include approaches and principles to building programmes that are led by the sex worker community such as community empowerment, addressing violence against sex workers, and community-led services; they include how to implement the recommended condom and lubricant programming, and other crucial health-care interventions for HIV prevention, treatment and care; and they include suggestions on how to manage programmes and build the capacity of sex worker organizations. The tool contains examples of good practice from around the world that may support efforts in planning programmes and services”

Over Mindgeek/Pornhub en #Payforyourporn

OneWorld, 2018. Betaal voor je porno, steun sekswerkers

Chronic Sex, 2018. Don’t Let Them Trick You – MindGeek, PornHub, and YouPorn are Bad News

Girlonthenet, 2016. What is ‘porn’, according to MindGeek

SLATE, 2016. There is a porn monopoly and its name is MindGeek

The Next Web, 2016. The (almost) invisible men and women behind the world’s largest porn sites

The Economist, 2015. Naked Capitalism

Graphic Descriptions, 2015. Tubes vs. Torrents: the Ethics of Piracy

Daily Dot, 2014. #PayForYourPorn is trying to get people to stop watching tube sites—but will it work?

New York Magazine, 2011. The Geek-Kings of Smut

FOSTA, SESTA en #Letussurvive

PROUD persbericht: “Sekswerkers overal ter wereld maken zich grote zorgen over de nieuwe Amerikaanse wetten FOSTA en SESTA. De wetten zijn zogenaamd ontworpen om mensenhandel tegen te gaan, maar de negatieve gevolgen voor internetvrijheid in het algemeen en sekswerkers in het bijzonder, zijn immens. (…) De wet betekent dat Google Drive je bestanden kan bekijken en verwijderen, Skype je gesprekken afluistert en meekijkt met je video-calls, advertentiewebsites je voortaan weigeren, Reddit verschillende subfora heeft gesloten en ook op Instagram al accounts zijn verdwenen. Sekswerkers worden op deze manier gedwongen in extreem onveilige situaties hun werk te doen.”

EnGadget: Congress just legalized sex censorship: What to know

Laura Moon: Trafficking Survivors Don’t Want SESTA, We Want to not be Dying in Poverty

The Society Pages: The Impact of FOSTA/SESTA on Online Sex Work Communities

The Guardian: Sexual freedom is at risk from these damning new bills passed by Congress

Gizmodo: Senate Passes SESTA, Controversial ‘Anti-Sex Trafficking’ Bill That Could Ruin the Internet and Harm Sex Workers

In Justice Today: Anti-Online Trafficking Bills Advance in Congress, Despite Opposition from Survivors Themselves

Zie ook Tits&Sass.


The Lancet: HIV and sex workers

Edit: Check out the summary by Scarlet Alliance and the accompanying article at AFAO.

Medical researchers and professionals know The Lancet. Academics will understand why when I say it’s one of the highest ranking medical journals.

For the rest of us: The Lancet is one of the most prestigious medical science publications in the world. Anyone who does research in a relevant field, anywhere in the world, probably wants to have their research papers published in a journal like this. Many try, only few succeed. Serious. Fancyness.

So, now that that’s clear, check out the Lancet Series on HIV and sex workers.

Here’s an infographic to get started: Doorgaan met het lezen van “The Lancet: HIV and sex workers”