This briefing paper is the second publication of ESWA's series on sex work and racism. It follows the paper entitled ‘Sex Work and Racism: Historical Overview of Racism in Anti-Sex Work, Anti-Trafficking and Anti-Immigration (ASWTI) Legislation in Europe’ (ESWA, 2022), which explained the development of anti-sex work, anti-trafficking, and anti-immigration legislation and policy and the history of sexual racialisation under the white European systems of chattel slavery, colonialism, and militarised sex work.
Structural racism results in discrimination against racialised sex workers that hinders equal opportunities and treatment in various aspects of their work and everyday lives. Racialised1 sex workers who are LGBTQ, (undocumented) migrants, poor, and/or work on the street have to deal with multiple oppressive forces and systems, such as homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, sexism, ableism, and others, which intersect with racism (ENAR, 2020).
This briefing paper aims to explore the impact of structural racism among racialised sex workers in Europe and Central Asia. It is structured as follows: the first section details the prevalence and impact of structural racism in the areas of housing, health, labour, law enforcement, and accessing justice. The following section highlights how racialised sex workers resist this racism, and the final section presents conclusions and recommendations to address the issue of structural racism at European, national, and individual levels.