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Advancing Sex Workers’ Rights to Social Protection - CSW63 Side Event
14 Mar 2019 -  The session focuses on delineating some of the key social protection issues for sex workers from the perspectives of governments, women’s rights movements and sex worker activists from the Global North and Global South.
The session will explore what social protection would mean for a sex worker, and/or what it does mean where it exists. The larger framework of the side event would be on delineating urgent social protection issues for sex workers combined with a focused discussion on decriminalisation and trafficking. In the line with the theme for CSW63, the panel will explore what social protection would mean for a sex worker. Not recognising sex work as work does not end demand. Rather, it makes a sex worker further more susceptible to violence by clients, partners, pimps, brothel owners and the police. Sex workers need to be considered as informal sector workers, and their labour rights, including ensuring minimum wages, right to highest standard of health and social benefits guaranteed. The panel will further explore how decriminalising sex work can (and does) strengthen anti trafficking efforts. Sex worker groups affirm that force and coercion (trafficking) is illegal, and that no one should be forced into sex work. However, the rights and entitlements of consenting adults who enter into sex work on their own volition should be recognised and not confused with the rights and needs of people who are forced into sex work (or any other form of labor). In addition, comprehensive mechanisms that sex worker groups have themselves adopted to ensure that persons who are either underage and/ or have been brought into the fold of sex work against their will, have a dignified way out needs to be recognised and adopted on a larger scale. These are some of the areas the panel will address and explore as a social protection issue. The diverse panel provides a unique opportunity to addressing this issue from a government perspective, women’s rights movement perspective, and the perspective of sex worker’s rights activist, from both the Global North as well as the Global South.
The session is co-organized by The Count Me In (CMI)!1 – a consortium comprised of women’s rights funders, NGOs and networks from both the Global South and North – and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
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