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Sex work policy and the working circumstances of sex workers

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Sex work policy and the working circumstances of sex workers

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

The  purpose  of  this  research  is  to  find  out  how  sex  work  decriminalisation  policy  could  benefit working circumstances for sex workers in the European Union. Since criminalisation and  legalisation  policy  types  have  failed  to  protect  sex  workers  from  violence,  abuse,  exploitation and oppression, it was deemed necessary to explore how decriminalisation policy  could  contribute  to  better  working  circumstances  for  EU  sex  workers.  The  research  question is: How could decriminalisation policy improve working conditions for sex workers in the EU as opposed to legalisation and criminalisation policy?

In order to answer the research question, existing literature is reviewed and complemented by 4 case studies and two expert interviews. The research lead to the conclusion that while criminalisation and legalisation policy is intended to eradicate or decrease the sex industry after  the  stigmatic  beliefs  that  sex  work  is  inherently  exploitative  and  the  conflation  of  sex  work with human trafficking, the two policy types reinforce and enable exploitation, abuse, violence  and  oppression,  therefore  they  work  counter-­‐productive.  Decriminalisation  can  offer several improvements for sex workers' working circumstances, namely access to labour rights and police protection. However, all of the three policy types examined fail to protect marginalised  sex  workers,  specifically  migrant  sex  workers,  LGBT+  populations  and  people  of colour. Worldwide, migrant sex workers are banned from working legally due to border laws. The EU wrongly conflates sex work and human trafficking against the advice of several human  rights  organisations  such  as  Amnesty  International  and  the  United  Nations,  which  leads to ineffective policy. Authorities and institutions disregard the expertise knowledge of sex worker organisations, while they could offer valuable advice when making policy.

The findings of the research bring about several recommendations for the EU and its member states. Firstly, states should implement policy decriminalising sex work. In this way, sex work is  treated  as  work  and  sex  workers  are  granted  labour  rights  and  police  protection.  As  migrant workers remain excluded from labour rights under decriminalisation policy through border laws, governments should put in effort to fight the root causes of migration: poverty, inequality  and  expensive,  illegal  migration  channels.  Other  marginalised  groups  should  receive support from the government and law enforcement, rather than over-­‐policing them. Moreover, governments and the EU must fund efficient exit programs for sex workers who wish to leave the industry. Such programs must be created with the expertise knowledge of sex worker organisations, as should sex work and anti-­‐human trafficking policy. Finally, sex work and human trafficking must not be conflated and the two policy areas should be treated as two different policy areas.

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OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2019
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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