Sex work and working conditions: the impact of being clandestine



This report presents the outcomes of the Study on Working Conditions for Sex Work in 14 countries of Latin America and the Caribe produced by the Latin American and Caribbean Women Sex Workers’ Network (RedTraSex) during 2015-2016.

This research was conducted with an aim to bridge the information gap on the working conditions of women sex workers (WSWs) in the region to clarify the reasons behind the need for and the urgency of regulating sex work and secure access to and protection of the rights of those of us engaged in it.

The report presents the daily work experience of WSWs in the region, paying special attention to workplaces and work routines, decision-making and the circulation of money, violence and discrimination, health and hygiene conditions, and how women sex workers organize every day to demand our rights.

It is essential that States, decision-makers and society as a whole become aware of the working conditions, that are unequal, precarious, informal and clandestine, under which sex work is performed, with an aim to develop actions that will transform those conditions to benefit WSWs.

Women sex workers want our right to work and our right to decide how to do it, to be valued. Also, we want the necessary conditions of work to be placed within a framework of protection and rights guarantees. This necessitates passing laws to regulate our activity without further delay. As workers, we are entitled to the same guarantees as any other person engaged in any other type of work and in the absence of these we suffer abuse, violence, precarious working conditions and discrimination, as the findings of this report illustrate.

We know what we do and we know how we want to do it. This is why we want to form labour unions and engage in dialogues to demand and defend our sectorial rights and be involved in developing, implementing and monitoring public laws and policies that are needed to secure rights for adult women who choose to engage in sex work in Latin America everyday.

We hope that by reading this report you will get a better you will get a better understanding of why we are struggling in Latin America and the Caribbean to advocate for WSWs’ rights. We are convinced that success is the result of daily and collective efforts and that now, more than ever, we need to work together, women and men, to improve the working and living conditions in our region.

Elena Reynaga
Executive Secretary

Full Research available for download:

You can also read it online 

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