Sex work is criminalized either through direct prohibitions on selling sexual services for money or through laws that prohibit solicitation of sex, living off of the earnings of sex work, brothel-keeping, or procuring sexual services. By reducing the freedom of sex workers to negotiate condom use with clients, organize for fair treatment, and publicly advocate for their rights, criminalization and aggressive policing have been shown to increase sex workers' vulnerability to violence, extortion, and health risks.
This document provides ten reasons why decriminalizing sex work is the best policy for promoting health and human rights for sex workers, their families, and communities. Removing criminal prosecution of sex work goes hand-in-hand with recognizing sex work as work and protecting the rights of sex workers through workplace health and safety standards. Decriminalizing sex work means sex workers are more likely to live without stigma, social exclusion, and fear of violence.