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Sex Workers Forum Austria makes submission to UNCAT

The Sex-Workers Forum of Vienna has made a shadow report submission to the UNITED NATIONS’ COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE (UN'CAT) pertaining to Austria’s 5th periodic report CAT/C/AUS/4-5
at the 44th session to be held from 26 April to 14 May, 2010. (Follow Read more for link to the full document.)

"This communication concerns Article 16 CAT (degrading treatment) under gender aspects. It informs the Committee about practices of the State Party that deny women in sex-work protection against degrading treatment  (psychological maltreatment, sexual assaults) by public officials.

  • In Austria, sex-work is legal, but sex-workers are required to undergo regular medical checks and register with the local authorities (see background information). This communication informs the Committee about the  persistence of degrading treatment of women, who are examined at the Vienna communal health office.
  • The report of the State Party focused on asylum related issues. Nevertheless, the report missed the issue of asylum seeking women. De facto, the State Party does not allow them to secure their livelihood through work, with the only exception of sex-work. This may amount to a degrading treatment, considering the need, the lack of other choices, and the cultural background of these women.
  • Special police units use undercover methods to find women providing sexual services without registration; such failure to register is a misdemeanor. This communication informs the Committee about cases in several Austrian provinces, where women, whom police suspected of providing sex-work without being registered, were subject to degrading treatment.
  • This report informs the Committee about case law, which indicates that in these cases there is no effective remedy for the victims. This report moreover informs the Committee on a culture of stigmatization, which encourages the described maltreatment, and ensures impunity for perpetrators.


Download pdf here (180 KB, 13 pages)


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