Developing More Effective Strategies for Sex Work, Law and Poverty

IDS Policy Briefing
Overs, C
Institute of Development Studies
Publication date: 
Friday, 11 September, 2015

The welfare of female sex workers in low-income countries has attracted significant attention in recent years. In line with human rights and development goals, advocacy focuses on decriminalisation of sex work, attaining economic rights, ending violence and improving sexual and reproductive health. Recent studies by the IDS Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme have highlighted many of these issues and placed them within the wider context and discussion around sexuality and development. This report calls for further research and action in three key areas, where evidence is needed to drive feasible, effective and measurable initiatives that benefit sex workers, even in unfavourable legal, economic and social conditions.

  • Decriminalisation of sex work remains a priority
  • Evaluation needed of Economic Empowerment Programmes (EEP)
  • Legal recognition is a cost-effective and politically realistic intervention to improve lives of sex workers
  • Resources needed to research the efficacy of Biomedical HIV prevention and care
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