Human Rights of Sex Workers in Europe

Human rights abuses against sex workers are alarmingly getting more common. In fact, an Amnesty Internal report narrated the troubling reality that sex workers face in Papua New Guinea, including the abuses made by the police. Albeit the legalization of prostitution in the country, sex workers are often discriminated and disadvantaged.

The sex workers in Papua New Guinea are no different from sex workers in Australia and in some more developed nations in the world. They, too, are greatly susceptible to abuses. In Australia, even if there’s the feminist empowerment among escorts in Melbourne and in other parts of the country that rally behind and fight against abuses on sex workers and the like, a big number of escorts still get beaten, discriminated, raped or harassed on a regular basis. They, too, are among the group of people who are often knocked back on availing the necessary health or housing services.

Common Abuses against Sex Workers

A public health fact sheet released by the Open Society Foundations enumerated the most common human rights abuses made to sex workers in Europe and Central Asia.  Police abuses and abuse within the health care are the most rampant exploitation made towards sex workers. For instance, prostitutes who were pressured on undergoing abortion or obligatory HIV testing, whether at work or by other means, have their Rights to Privacy, Equality and Non-Discrimination, and Security of Person violated. Moreover, when they are denied of treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), their Right to the Highest Attainable Standards is being disregarded.

Police abuses such as sexual or physical violence, extortion, or arbitrary arrest and detention are against the Right to Equality and Non-Discrimination, Right to Life and Right to a Fair Trial of sex workers.

Decriminalization of Sex Work

 Amnesty International has been actively calling on all the governments in the world to decriminalize prostitution. In addition, the organisation wants the government to impose further measures that will defend and safeguard the human rights of sex workers. Is decriminalization the solution to years-long battle against abuses to prostitutes, escorts and whatnot?

Legalization is much different from decriminalization. Legalization intends to institute guidelines or laws that will oversee this industry. On the other hand, decriminalization aims to eliminate the laws that will criminalize sex workers. For instance, if a prostitute has been sexually or physically abused, he/she can go to the police and file a complaint without the trepidation of being imprisoned for being a sex worker.

Let us all bear in mind that sex worker rights are also human rights. They are all entitled to the same human rights as everyone else.