To the CEDAW Committee: Sex work is work. It is not trafficking.
On 02 June, International Sex Workers’ Day, the Count Me In! Consortium
has issued a statement to show it stands in solidarity with sex worker-led
organisations and networks advocating for sex workers’ rights and condemns the
discriminatory and potentially harmful measures proposed in CEDAW’s General
Sex workers’ rights are central to human rights -particularly women’s
rights -and for achieving gender equality, the consortium states. Yet, there
continues to be disagreement about how best to ensure that sex workers are free
from violence and discrimination. The recent CEDAW General Recommendation 38on
trafficking in women and girls in the context of migration adds to misunderstanding
of the distinction between sex work and trafficking and may increase
discrimination against sex workers.
Understanding the difference between sex work and trafficking6is an
essential step for effective anti-trafficking campaigns that both address
trafficking and respect sex workers’ rights. Evidence confirms that poorly
designed anti-trafficking interventions, such as those elements suggested by
General Recommendation 38 inaccurately portray sex workers as inevitable
victims and add to the stigma attached to sex work.
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