Pattaya Draft Declaration on Sex Work in Asia and the Pacific 2010

15/10/2010 at 11:05 Leave a comment

Pattaya Draft Declaration on Sex Work in Asia and the Pacific 2010

This Declaration has been agreed by sex workers representing regional, national and local networks of sex workers present at Pattaya Thailand 12-16 October 2010.  APNSW will be conducting a consultation to finalise this document.

It represents a unified and rights based approach to the reduction of HIV among adult sex workers.


Recognising that:

Sex workers of all genders are subject to violence, both in their personal lives and at work. This violence is a manifestation of stigma, discrimination and judgemental attitudes.

International and national trafficking law and policy has resulted in increased violence against and oppression of sex workers.

United Nations organisations and specialised agencies have previously agreed that criminal and other laws that lead to dangerous settings for commercial  sex and limit access to services must be repealed.

In many parts of the world, sex workers are amongst the most vulnerable to HIV and STIs.

Twenty years of experience has shown that effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for sex workers is possible only with their meaningful and active involvement.

Collective organising and community mobilisationand community led processes are key to ensuring that sex workers benefit from HIV policies and programmes.

Building capacity within sex worker networks and communities must be understood as part of the commitment to the respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of sex workers.

Sex workers who are socially included, have better economic and social status and are less vulnerable to human rights abuses and HIV.

It is necessary to provide and scale up access to rights based HIV programming for sex workers and their clients of all genders, HIV positive or negative.

Successful rights based interventions that have been shown to reduce HIV and STIs among female, male and transgender sex workers and clients must be strengthened and scaled up.

Coercive efforts to control or reduce sex work are contrary to human rights. Mandatory medical treatment or procedures, raids, forced rehabilitation, or programmes implemented by police or based upon detention of sex workers are all examples of coercive programming and in some circumstances may constitute torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

To be effective, HIV programming needs to be devised in true partnership with sex workers, and be dynamic, participatory, non-coercive and must address the diverse realities of human sexuality and sexual expression.

Article 1 Responsibilities of States

1(a)       The human rights protection provided to those who are recognised as persons before the law is often unavailable to sex workers. States must address these failings and respect, protect and fulfil the rights of all people including sex workers.

1(b)       States must recognise and regulate sex work as a form of labour (work).

1(c)       Human rights are central to the response to HIV in any population.  A rights based response requires that rights are not denied because a person is a sex worker,  a client of a sex worker or is otherwise financially or personally related to a sex worker. This specifically includes the children of sex workers.

1(d)       The procedural aspects of a rights-based approach which include participation, accountability and transparency are central to working with sex workers. The starting point for a rights based approach to HIV and sex work is the formation of a partnership in which sex workers’ contributions to policy and programme development is encouraged, supported, recognised and valued. This cannot occur in coercive environments such as those created by the 100% Condom Use Programme or where sex work is governed by laws that address trafficking.

1(e)       Laws and policies must not directly or indirectly limit the rights of sex workers, or restrict their access to comprehensive HIV and SRH services.

Article 2 Support and Capacity Building

2(a)       Sex workers must have free and meaningful participation in the research, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes that affect their lives.

2(b)       Capacity building includes the provision of adequate funding and training for sex worker groups and networks to build organisational strength and expertise to effectively operate and to communicate and share good practices with each other and to external bodies.

Article 3 Respectful Attitudes and Behaviour

3(a)       Policies and programmes must be implemented that foster respectful attitudes and behaviour by officers and practitioners  in law enforcement, health services, religious institutions, judicial and government sectors, civil society organizations and the public.

3(b)       Officers, practitioners and others, including clients, who discriminate against sex workers or violate their rights or dignity must be subject to penalties responses that are in proportion to the act in question and remedies made available to sex workers.

Article 4 Advocacy

4(a)       Sex worker organisations and networks must be supported and sufficiently resourced to address the discrimination, stigma, violence, and injustices experienced by sex workers.

4(b)       Sex worker organisations must be supported and sufficiently resourced to  develop coalitions with others to address discrimination, stigma, violence, and injustices experienced by sex workers.

4(c)       Peer education and peer support networks must be regarded as a key means to promote the rights of sex workers and to reduce risk behaviours among sex workers.

Article 5 Strategic partnerships

5(a)       Governments, labour organizations, religious institutions, the private sector, civil society organisations and local communities in association with sex worker groups,  must address the risks associated with HIV and sex work, especially the elimination of violence against sex workers.

5(b)       Governments, labour organizations, religious instiutions, the private sector, civil society organisations and local communities in association with sex worker groups must address barriers to sex workers organizing, improving health and safety within sex work settings and accessing HIV prevention and other health and social care services.

Article 6 Migrant Sex Workers

Special attention must be paid to meeting the needs of migrant sex workers, including those who may be refugees, internally displaced and undocumented persons.

Article 7 Ethnic and Religious Minorities

Special attention must be paid to meeting the needs of sex workers belonging to ethnic and religious minorities.

Article 8 Elimination of violence against sex workers

8(a)       Sex workers must be able to safely report violence and abuse, and receive protection under law.

8(b)       Violence is linked with increased incidence of STIs and HIV. Programmes must be developed to prevent and minimise violence and its effects.

8(c)       Safe spaces, such as drop-in centres, and community-based and cultural activities must be available to sex workers.

Article 9 Sex Workers and Clients

9(a)       Specific campaigns must be developed and targeted at clients to:

  • encourage clients to behave respectfully and responsibly towards sex workers, and
  • deliver messages about health, safer sex, and condom usage.

9(b)       HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes and services must be provided to clients, and others associated with the sex industry.

9(c)       Funding for campaigns and programmes for clients must be derived from funding streams other than those intended for policy development and programmes for sex workers.

Article 10 Provision of Services

10(a)     Sex workers must have access to respectful, adequate and culturally-relevant legal and health services.

10(b)     Health services include but are not limited to:

  • sexual and reproductive health services,
  • a continuum of HIV prevention options such as information and education,
  • voluntary counselling and testing,
  • support for community mobilization,
  • prevention commodities, and
  • drug and alcohol harm reduction programmes.

10(c)     For programming to be effective, barriers to providing services must be addressed, including discrimination by and stigmatising treatment from health care services, social services, legal services and law enforcement agencies.

10 (d)    HIV programmes must be neither mandatory nor coercive. The participation of sex workers must be voluntary and informed.

Article 11 Expand economic and social opportunities for sex workers

11(a)     Sex workers must have access to programmes that expand economic and social opportunities. In this regard training must be provided for sex workers who remain in sex work, and those seeking an economic alternative to sex work.

11(b)     Strategies designed to provide sustainable supplementary incomes for individuals and households must address at a minimum:

  • lack of secure housing,
  • lack of access to education,
  • banking services and credit, and
  • control of family assets

Article 12  Accurate Data

Accurate data obtained ethically and in partnership with sex workers, using sound research methods are required ar national and local levels concerning, but not limited to:

  • sex work settings,
  • mobility and migration trends,
  • patterns of violence,
  • good practice examples of HIV treatment, care and support for sex workers,
  • barriers to access to existing services,
  • design of sex worker friendly services,
  • microfinance, income-generating activities, supplementary and alternative livelihoods, and business start up opportunities, and
  • laws, policies, enforcement processes and their impact on vulnerability.

Article 13 Sex Workers Living with HIV

13 (a)    Sex workers living with HIV must have access to at a minimum the highest available standard of HIV treatment, care and support services in the country.

13(b)     Programmes must provide: quality counselling that addresses issues such as potential discrimination and loss of income, care and treatment for sex workers living with HIV, including antiretroviral therapy, when medically indicated, and treatment of opportunistic infections.

13 (c)    Barriers to service provision, including health professionals and service providers who discriminate against sex workers living with HIV, inadequate access to HIV and sexually transmitted infections testing, counselling and treatment services must be remedied.

13(d)     HIV prevention for and with sex workers living with HIV must not involve coercion.

Article 14 International Law and Policy

14(a)     International trade and aid must not be conditional on national legislative, policy and enforcement responses to trafficking or intellectual property.

14(b)     Access to affordable generic drugs must not be limited by international, bilateral or plurilateral agreements.

14(c)     International law* concerning trafficking and prostitution must be given a limited interpretation and must not be relied upon to support coercive responses to sex workers, or to limit the operation of commericial sex as a form of labour.

14(d)     Funding for HIV programming should not be linked to statements opposing the “legalising” of sex work.

* Article 6 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Article 35 Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention Against Transnational Origanized Crime, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children


Entry filed under: health, HIV and AIDS, human rights and law, migration and mobility, sex work.

Consultation on Sex Work and HIV in Asia and the Pacific Somaly Mam Doesn’t Care.

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