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Fri, 18 November 2016

On Thursday 16th of November, ICRSE launched its third Intersection Briefing Paper 'Surveilled. Exploited. Deported. Rights Violations against Migrant Sex Workers in Europe and Central Asia' as well as a Policy Brief and Recommendations on Migrant Sex Workers Rights.

The Briefing Paper explores how criminalisation of migration, criminalisation of sex work and lack of economic and employment opportunities make migrant sex workers vulnerable to exploitation, violence and other human rights violations.

This Briefing Paper was launched in Brussels during our Seminar on the Rights of Migrant Sex Workers which was the conclusion of a three day Action Meeting bringing together migrant sex workers, sex workers' rights organisations, service providers and human rights organisations. The Seminar was a powerful event where migrant sex workers spoke publicly of their living and working conditions and allies from diverse organisations re-affirmed their commitment to the sex workers' rights movement. A report with pictures and videos of the event will be be available soon on our website. 

Summary of briefing paper:

Sex workers in Europe face constant violations of their human rights, contrary to the principles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights, including the goal of gender equality. Their situation is further exacerbated by increasing social and political conservatism, backlashes against women’s and LGBT rights, and growing governmental efforts to criminalise sex workers, their clients and non-exploitative third parties facilitating or profiting from sex workers’ labour. 

Migrant sex workers are estimated to comprise more than 65 percent of the sex worker population in Western Europe and 16-17 percent in Central Europe. Additionally, in recent years sex work has increasingly become an income- generating strategy among asylum seekers and refugees fleeing to Europe. 

The increasing use of criminal law in migration management, negative developments in the regulation of sex work, and the targeting of migrant sex workers by misguided anti-trafficking policies have significantly heightened this population’s vulnerability to abuse, violence and exploitation. Repeated police raids and so-called “rescue operations” in sex work settings continuously undermine sex workers’ safety, force them to work underground, and expose them to exploitation and trafficking. Furthermore, these measures frequently result in migrants’ repatriation or deportation, often to countries where they face high levels of gender-based violence and persecution. 

The magnitude of these problems is calling for urgent European and national policy responses. These need to address the root causes of migrants’ vulnerability: the criminalisation of migration and the facilitation of the entry and stay of undocumented migrants, lack of access to employment, repressive laws regulating sex work, and the use of anti-trafficking policies to detect and deport undocumented sex workers. 

The International Committee on the Rights of sex Workers in Europe therefore calls upon policy makers to: 

  • Support the decriminalisation of sex work in order to ensure (undocumented) migrant sex workers’ access to health and justice. 

  • Support irregular migrants’ regularisation and an end of deportations of (undocumented) migrant sex workers. 

  • Ensure that asylum seekers, refugees and (undocumented) migrants have access to welfare support and to economic and employment opportunities. 

The policy brief can be downloaded here.

The online version of the briefing paper can be downloaded here.

To download the printable version of the briefing paper please click on the picture below. 


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