Sex Work

What exactly are sex workers?

Adults who receive money or goods in exchange for consensual sexual services or erotic performances on a regular or irregular basis are referred to as sex workers.

Why not use the phrase “sex worker” instead of “prostitute”?

The phrase “sex worker” acknowledges that sex work is a form of labor. Prostitution, on the other hand, has criminal and immoral implications. Many people who offer sexual services prefer the label “sex worker” rather than “prostitute,” which contributes to their exclusion from health, legal, and social services.

Why do some people work in the sex industry?

In order to make a living, sex workers sell sexual services. The great majority of sex workers do sex work because it is their only viable option. Many sex workers are poor and destitute, with few alternative possibilities for employment. Others believe that sex work pays more and provides more flexibility than other employment. Some people work in the sex industry to discover and express their sexuality.

Why shouldn’t sex labor be illegal?

Criminalizing sex work jeopardizes the health and safety of sex workers by driving it underground. Everything from criminalizing the sale and acquisition of sexual services to broad prohibitions on sex work management has been criminalized. Criminalization makes it more difficult for sex workers to negotiate terms with customers, collaborate for safety, and carry condoms without fear of them being used as evidence of prostitution.

In many circumstances, sex workers describe excessive levels of violence and harassment at work, including from clients, employers, and police. Because sex workers are at risk of incarceration, further abuse, and revenge if they disclose rights violations, particularly by police, criminalization makes it harder for them to report rights violations. This reinforces shame, violence, and impunity, endangering the health and safety of sex workers.

What’s wrong with regulations that only apply to sex workers’ clients?
Many opponents of sex work recognize the costs that come with criminalizing sex workers and prefer a system that criminalizes customers and third parties, such as managers or brothel owners, but not sex workers. This type of criminalization, known as the “Swedish” or “Nordic” model, aims to reduce the demand for sex labor while portraying sex workers as victims rather than criminals.

This strategy creates stigma against sex workers, resulting in discrimination in social services, housing, and health care. It also ignores the basic issue of criminalization, which drives sex work underground and pushes sex workers away from safety and services.

Client and third-party criminalization has failed to achieve its intended purpose of eliminating — or even decreasing — sex work. In France, for example, the purchase of sexual services was made illegal in 2016, and a study two years later found that it had a significant impact on sex workers, including a significant decline in living circumstances and increased susceptibility to violence. Online advertisements for sexual services have expanded significantly in the last decade in Sweden, although the purchase of sexual services was made illegal in 1999.

What is sex work decriminalization?

Decriminalization refers to the abolition of criminal and administrative penalties that relate especially to sex work, hence establishing a favorable environment for the health and safety of sex workers. To be effective, decriminalization must be followed with a recognition of sex work as work, allowing it to be managed by labor law and protected in the same way as other jobs. While decriminalization may not alleviate all of sex workers’ problems, it is a prerequisite for realizing their human rights.

The Open Society Foundations believe that decriminalizing sex work is the best way to preserve sex workers’ health and human rights.

What is human trafficking, and how is it different from sex work?

Human trafficking is a heinous human rights violation that involves the threat or use of force, kidnapping, fraud, or other forms of compulsion to exploit people. Forced labor, sexual exploitation, slavery, and other forms of exploitation may be involved.

Sex work, on the other hand, is an adult-to-adult transaction in which selling or buying sexual services is not a violation of human rights. Conflating human trafficking with sex labor can be dangerous and futile.

Sex worker organizations condemn exploitation, and many feel that strengthening workers’ rights and addressing economic inequities is the most effective method to combat exploitation, including human trafficking. Precarious job, restrictive migration rules, and gender inequality all contribute to increased exploitation risk.

Is it true that sex work is fundamentally harmful?

Because sex labor is work, it does not imply that it is positive, empowering, or innocuous job. Sex labor, on the other hand, is not intrinsically harmful; however, prohibition and stigma make it such.

Like other professions, sex workers experience a range of emotions regarding their jobs. Some sex workers despise their jobs, but it is their best or only alternative for survival. Some people are unconcerned about their jobs since they provide flexibility or decent income. Some people enjoy their jobs and find them to be gratifying or enjoyable in general. Whatever sex workers believe about their jobs, they are entitled to occupational health and safety as well as human rights.