Sex Workers Rights
Sex Workers are among one of the most disadvantaged groups of people in the world. In many countries, they face discrimination, beatings, rape and harassment – sometimes on a daily basis – or that they are often denied access to basic health or housing services. Amnesty International has recorded many instances where police – as well as clients, and other members of the general public – have inflicted abuses against sex workers with impunity.
We spent more than two years gathering evidence through meetings with hundreds of individuals and organizations. We conducted first-hand research into the lived experience of sex workers under different national and legal contexts.
To be clear: decriminalizing sex work would not mean removing criminal penalties for trafficking. Trafficking is an abhorrent human rights abuse. States must have laws in place which criminalize trafficking, and use them effectively to protect victims and bring traffickers to justice.
There is no reliable evidence to suggest that decriminalization of sex work would encourage human trafficking.
But criminalization of sex work can hinder the fight against trafficking – for example, victims may be reluctant to come forward if they fear the police will take action against them for selling sex. Where sex work is criminalized, sex workers are also excluded from workplace protections which could increase oversight and help identify and prevent trafficking.