The Open Society Public Health Program has developed a clear and simple guide that pairs common violations experienced by sex workers with relevant provisions of major human rights treaties.
The guide, entitled Common Human Rights Violations Experienced by Sex Workers, explains briefly how human rights treaties are enforced and lists some of the most important enforcement mechanisms. It also provides a key that sex workers’ rights advocates can use to determine which rights protected by international law have been violated when sex workers have certain kinds of experiences. For instance, when a sex worker is arbitrarily arrested or detained, his or her right to liberty and security of person is violated and he or she may also experience violation of the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and the right to a fair trial. The guide lists these rights along with the relevant provisions of international treaties that are violated when these rights are not respected.
The purpose of the document is to make clear the connection between abusive acts commonly experienced by sex workers and international rights guarantees. By referencing the guide, sex workers’ rights advocates can present the experiences of sex workers in terms that international treaty bodies created to enforce human rights law can understand and take action on.