At a panel session on sex work and human rights, advocates called for the implementation of effective HIV program and policy interventions based on the respect for the human rights of sex workers.
The message of sex workers at the International AIDS Conference was loud and clear — sex workers demand to be recognized as a legitimate profession and see themselves as part of the solution.
A senior public health official in Jamaica recently called for decriminalization and taxation of commercial sex work. Other government officials decried the proposal, but have few effective suggestions of their own.
Next month, the Parliament of India will vote on an amendment that could further stigmatize and violate the human rights of sex workers by criminalizing the purchase of sexual services in India.
Congress is poised to re-authorize the federal law against human trafficking with new provisions that will both increase penalties for sex workers and effectively decrease our ability to aid genuine victims of trafficking.
Legislation and advocacy work have often blurred or denied any difference between trafficking and sex work. That has always made things worse rather than better for those involved.