Tag Archives: Decriminalization

Klambauer, Eva. „On the Edges of the Law: Sex Workers’ Legal Consciousness in England“. International Journal of Law in Context, undefined/ed, 1–17.
In England, sex workers are placed at the edges of the law. How the social and legal status of sex workers impacts on their perception of and interaction with the law in a semi-legal setting has not yet been explored. Drawing on fifty-two qualitative interviews with indoor and outdoor sex workers in England, this study investigates their disposition to the law, legality and the state. The commonalities and discrepancies between the experiences of indoor and outdoor sex workers reveal the influence of the combination of legal framework and social status on sex workers’ legal consciousness. This study finds that, even in a setting of semi-legality, sex workers attempt to avoid contact with state authorities. However, this aversion to the current law does not prevent them from making claims for legal change. Surprisingly, indoor and outdoor sex workers hold opposing views on the appropriate level of regulation and state involvement in the sex industry. Remarkably, although outdoor sex workers have more negative experiences with arbitrators of the law, they desire the law’s protection. In contrast, indoor sex workers’ main grievance is for sex work to be a legitimate industry that can operate with only minimal state control. These differences in outdoor and indoor workers’ legal claims are explicable by sharp cleavages in social status, vulnerability and degree of criminalisation. These findings demonstrate that intra-group differences in the legal consciousness of marginalised groups are key to understanding the role of social and legal status in shaping legal claims.

Sex workers have reported a history of stigma associated with their identity and labor, which has resulted in numerous barriers to justice, social services, and healthcare. The current study aimed to experimentally investigate the effects of sex work stigma on observers’ victim blame and empathy toward sexual assault survivors. The participants included 197 undergraduate students from the Midwestern US who were randomly assigned to read a newspaper article reporting a sexual assault in which the victim’s identity was manipulated as a sex worker or a non-sex worker between the conditions. Results indicated participants assigned to the article describing the rape of a sex worker responded to the article with statistically less victim empathy and more victim blame than participants who read an article describing the rape of a non-sex worker. Integrating stigma theory and qualitative research on sex work stigma, the implications of the results demonstrate a significant barrier sex workers may face within the criminal justice system when reporting acts of violence against them. Recommendations for sex work decriminalization, changing the conversation of academic discourse on sex work, and educational initiatives are proposed to reduce the stigma of this marginalized population.

P Duff, J Sou, J Chapman, S Dobrer, M Braschel, S Goldenberg, K Shannon; Poor working conditions and work stress among Canadian sex workers , Occupational Medicine, Volume 67, Issue 7, 1 October 2017, Pages 515–521,

While sex work is often considered the world’s oldest profession, there remains a dearth of research on work stress among sex workers (SWs) in occupational health epidemiological literature. A better understanding of the drivers of work stress among SWs is needed to inform sex work policy, workplace models and standards.Aims

To examine the factors that influence work stress among SWs in Metro Vancouver.Methods

Analyses drew from a longitudinal cohort of SWs, known as An Evaluation of Sex Workers’ Health Access (AESHA) (2010–14). A modified standardized ‘work stress’ scale, multivariable linear regression with generalized estimating equations was used to longitudinally examine the factors associated with work stress.Results

In multivariable analysis, poor working conditions were associated with increased work stress and included workplace physical/sexual violence (β = 0.18; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06, 0.29), displacement due to police (β = 0.26; 95% CI 0.14, 0.38), working in public spaces (β = 0.73; 95% CI 0.61, 0.84). Older (β = −0.02; 95% CI −0.03, −0.01) and Indigenous SWs experienced lower work stress (β = −0.25; 95% CI −0.43, −0.08), whereas non-injection (β = 0.32; 95% CI 0.14, 0.49) and injection drug users (β = 0.17; 95% CI 0.03, 0.31) had higher work stress.Conclusions

Vancouver-based SWs’ work stress was largely shaped by poor work conditions, such as violence, policing, lack of safe workspaces. There is a need to move away from criminalized approaches which shape unsafe work conditions and increase work stress for SWs. Policies that promote SWs’ access to the same occupational health, safety and human rights standards as workers in other labour sectors are also needed.

Rachel Marshall, Sex Workers and Human Rights: A Critical Analysis of Laws Regarding Sex Work, 23 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 47 (2016),


2016 Special Issue: Combating Human Trafficking Through Law and Social Policy, William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Volume 23 (2016-2017), Issue 1 (2016)



New Zealand was the first country to decriminalize sex work. This article provides a reflective commentary on decriminalization, its implementation and its impacts in New Zealand. New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC) was the key player in getting decriminalization on the policy agenda and their effective networking played an essential role to the successful campaign for legislative change. There were contentious clauses within the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) which were of concern to NZPC and others. However, the research which informed the review of the Act has shown that decriminalization has been successful in making the industry safer and improving the human rights of sex workers within all sectors of the industry. The PRA provides several protections for sex workers, which means that their human rights and citizenship can be safeguarded. Yet there has been little movement towards decriminalization in other countries and reluctance by some to draw on New Zealand’s experience. Indeed, it cannot be claimed that decriminalization will be experienced in the same way in other countries. New Zealand is a small island with a population of just over four million and movement across its borders is more restricted than countries that are part of the European Union. Nevertheless, other countries may find the arguments used to get legislative change in New Zealand useful within their own context.