Labor and Social Protection

The situation

Sex workers face different forms of labour exploitation such as job insecurity and illegal labour arrangements, lack of benefits but also economic exploitation and bad working conditions. 

A first step to combat exploitation in the sex industries is to recognize sex work as work and build strong labour and trade union organising. However in most European countries sex workers are still denied to join a union or create their own.

Our objectives

​​Sex workers enjoy increased access to social and labour protections without discrimination.

  • Sex workers in Europe are active in, recognised and respected in labour and trade union movements.
  • Sex work is recognised as a labour rights issue, and sex workers’ rights to labour protections is supported by trade unions and the labour rights movement in Europe.
  • Law and policy makers in Europe understand and support the labour rights of sex workers.
  • Sex workers can access financial support and social protection without discrimination, including specific measures provided by States in response to Covid-19 and in economic recovery interventions in coming years.

Our current activities

Through its anti-trafficking programme ESWA documents and communicates the injustice and harms experienced by sex workers denied labour rights in Europe

ESWA works with decision and policy makers to increase awareness and recognition of the impacts and the ways in which sex workers have been excluded from state aid and protection including during the Covid19 pandemic. 

ESWA supports sex worker-led organisations to strengthen the movement and achieve equality regarding labour protection. ESAW works on building the representation and voices of sex workers in policy making spaces and discussions on labour rights in Europe. Moreover, ESWA engages with trade unions and other labour rights bodies to educate, build allyship and mobilise change.