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About the Book

Sex Work, Health, and Human Rights: Global Inequities, Challenges and Opportunities for Action is a unique collaboration that blends lived experience with rigorous academic research to amplify the challenges faced by sex workers the world over, and propose evidence-based interventions.

This book could not come at a more critical time: globally, sex workers continue to face unacceptable health and human rights inequities, including an elevated burden of violence, HIV and sexually transmitted infections, unmet sexual and reproductive health needs, and inadequate primary and mental health care. Despite this, sex workers actively resist, demonstrating tremendous resilience in the face of these harms and continuing to  advocate for improved health, safety, and human rights conditions and policy changes.

The vast majority of research on sex workers’ health needs has focused on biomedical and behavioural approaches to HIV and STI prevention and treatment but gaps in the research clearly show the need to holistically address the crucial influence of structural factors, like punitive and criminalized legal and policy environments; stigma and discrimination; migration and mobility patterns; disproportionate experiences of violence; and unsafe labour conditions.

Sex Work, Health, and Human Rights: Global Inequities, Challenges and Opportunities for Action offers a comprehensive overview of the health and social inequities faced by sex workers globally. It describes the structural determinants that negatively impact sex workers’ health and occupational outcomes, and outlines evidence-based interventions and best practices, such as full decriminalization of sex work, community empowerment models, and multi-level, integrated intervention approaches.

Using a ground breaking community-academic partnership model, the book synthesizes research evidence and lessons learned from regional and local experiences across different global settings to document the needs of sex workers as well as best practices for reducing them. Each chapter reflects the contributions of academic and sex work community authors who were identified and contracted through the Global Network of Sex Work Projects. This approach was developed to address the unequal power dynamics shaping dominant approaches to sex work-related research, service delivery, and policymaking.