Ten Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work
Sex work is criminalized not only through prohibitions on selling sexual services, but also through laws that prohibit the solicitation of sex, living off the earnings of sex work, brothel-keeping, or the purchase of 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 of 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.
Update (April 10, 2015): The brief has been updated to reflect the most relevant arguments, and the latest news and evidence, that suggest the decriminalization of sex work is the policy that best protects the rights, health, and safety of sex workers.
Ten Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work (1.28 Mb pdf file)
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Laws and Policies Affecting Sex Work
This reference brief aims to clarify terms and illustrate examples of alternatives to the use of criminal law as a response to sex work.
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