On Monday 17th of May 2021, ICRSE publishes its latest report 'From vulnerability to resilience: sex workers organising to end exploitation.'
This resource is the final outcome of ICRSE’s programme Rights not Rescue, which ran from 2019 to 2021. This project aimed to empower migrant sex workers to fight trafficking and exploitation in the sex industry and strengthen ICRSE’s advocacy on issues relating to migration, exploitation and trafficking. Through this programme, ICRSE was able to provide financial and technical support to 12 sex workers’ rights organisations which developed national activities to tackle exploitation and amplify the voices of migrant sex workers.
About this resource: Sex workers globally organise, unionise and develop initiatives to protect themselves from violence, exploitation and human rights violations. They share strategies of how to work independently, where to work and how to keep themselves safe. Many sex workers’ organisations also play a vital role in preventing children from entering into the sex industry and supporting women who have been trafficked into it. As critical enablers for addressing violence and exploitation in the sex work sector, they contribute to the creation of more resilient communities, despite having no or limited funding. This report aims to support the recognition of the work of community-based and community-led programmes in the field of anti-trafficking. As such, it is addressed to policymakers, experts, and civil society organisations active in countering human trafficking and to sex workers and their organisations to share best practices and effective approaches in eliminating exploitation in the sex work industry. The report has three parts: section 1 explains key definitions and concepts, and related sex workers’ demands; section 2 presents approaches and strategies that ICRSE members carried out within the framework of the Rights not Rescue programme; finally, the report ends with recommendations for policymakers to upscale community resilience and to recognise and support community-led initiatives as important actors in the field of anti-trafficking.
The report was launch at a public webinar hosted by Freedom Collaborative. The webinar will be available on our Youtube channel.
Table of contents
Section 1: Understanding the context: key policy concepts and demands
Defining exploitation in the sex industry
‘End Demand’: understanding the concept, its rationale and consequences
From vulnerability to resilience: the role of community in preventing and ending trafficking
Section 2: Rights not Rescue: sex workers take the lead in tackling exploitation
Building collective power: self organisation, unionisation and sex workers’ leadership.
Establishing shared trust: outreach, safe spaces and peer support.
Documenting evidence and developing partnerships: community research and cross-sector collaborations.
Challenging structural factors: advocacy, campaign and law reform.
Section 3: Conclusions and recommendations