Sex Workers' Rights

There has been much debate over the years concerning prositution law reform. Many prositutes have formed groups to explain their arguments and to come together to fight against the decriminalization of sex work. Prostitutes' rights organizations (ie. COYOTE) use the term decriminalization to mean the removal of laws against prostitution (Prostitution Law Reform, Sex worker advocates call for decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution. In addition, according to the Prostitution Law Reform, civil rights and human rights advocates call for enforcement of laws against fraud, abuse, violence and coercion to protect prostitutes from abusive, exploitative partners and management. A human rights approach recognizes that it is not sufficient to merely remove sex work from the operation of the criminal law, but also protect the legal rights of the sex worker. This would mean attempting to address specific abuses that sex workers have to face all of the time. The human rights approach supports occupational, health and safety standards in the practice of sex work.

The participants of the Asian Meeting of Sex Workers at Siem Riep believe that many prostitutes have to struggle against unfavorable working conditions, harassment and coercion by the police, as well as confront and challenge the stigmatisation against prostitution. They along with many other sex workers demand recognition of sex work as legitimate work and a valid occupation.

According to COYOTE (CAll Of Your Old Tired Ethics) organization, prostitution should be decriminalized rather than legalized, for all private consenting adult commercial sex. COYOTE uses the legalized system in Nevada as an example of legalized prostitution. According to organization, in the legalized system (ie. Nevada) prostitutes end up exchanging on exploitive system for another. Many prostitutes do not and would not want to have to work in a brothel. In addition, COYOTE has provided crisis counseling, support groups, and referrals to legal and other service providers for thousands of prostitites.

PONY(Prostitutes of New York) is another support and advocacy group for all people in the sex industry. PONY advocates the decriminalization of prostitution and calls for an end to illegal police activity-such as street sweeps-in the enforcement of existing laws. The group also provides legal and health referals to sex workers. PONY wants to bring all people from the sex industry together to promote professional standards.

Another organization NZPC (New Zealend Prostitutes Collective) lobbies for the repeal of prostitution laws in accordance with the models of decriminalization. They also provide support and information for and by sex workers. NZPC seeks an environment that supports the rights of the sex industry and educates the public and media about issues that surround sex work and workers. This organization has many services that include free sexual health clinics, information on existing laws, and information on tax status for sex workers.

Currently, there are many organizations that supports sex work and are trying to have it decriminalized. It is important that people of all occupations get equal support and rights. Many of these organizations offer help, education and information for sex workers and the general public. The groups listed above are only a couple out of hundreds. A good website that gives information on all of these oganizations and more is This website gives information on sex work on a global level. It has information on groups in Africa, Asia, Australia, Canda, London, India and so on. Almost all of these organizations are ran by sex workers or former sex workers, however, despite what some may think the organizations are very well organized and informed.


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