Counting Sex Workers In! Campaign

The Count Me In! Consortium supports the voices and activism of women, girls, and trans and gender non-binary people who are often most marginalised in their communities. Among the most silenced voices are those of sex workers.

The Counting Sex Workers In! campaign puts a spotlight on sex worker-led advocacy and highlights the voices and perspectives of sex workers of all genders in order to advance understanding that sex workers’ rights are human rights and a feminist issue. The campaign will call attention to the frequent experiences of discrimination, harassment and violence experienced by sex workers. It will challenge the ways that sex work is most often viewed through a narrow lens of moral judgment, and instead highlight bodily integrity and workers’ rights. The Counting Sex Workers In! campaign ran from October 26 to November 10, 2020.

It is time that women’s rights and human rights organisations and donors recognise and promote sex workers’ bodily autonomy, acknowledge their labour rights as workers, and highlight their rights to be free from discrimination and violence – by both state and non-state actors.

This two-week campaign is designed to start conversations, offer resources and encourage solidarity for sex workers and sex workers’ rights. Please follow this page for resources and CREA’s & other CMI! members’ social media platforms to join in the campaign!

Video: Counting Sex Workers In!

No matter what your situation, it is your undeniable right to safety, security and decent wages at work.

The video, developed as part of the ‘Counting Sex Workers in!’, explains why sex work is work, why sex work must not be confused with trafficking and why sex workers’ rights are human rights and a feminist issue. The original video, developed in a short time frame, has been viewed about 20,000 times. Recently, we updated the video with better sound quality.

Click here or on the ‘play’ button to watch the video.


Factsheet 1: Sex workers' rights are women's rights

Sex workers’ rights are central to the fight for women’s rights and for achieving gender equality. Yet, there continues to be disagreement about how best to ensure that women in the sex industry are free from violence and discrimination.

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Russian | Spanish

Myths vs Realities: There are a lot of misconceptions around sex work – read more about what those myths are and how to bust them!

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Spanish

Factsheet 2: The far-reaching impact of the laws governing sex work

There are a variety of legal models to regulate sex work around the world. A few countries have laws that respect the rights of sex workers, others have various levels of punitive, oppressive laws with devastating consequences for sex workers, their families and society at large. Unfortunately, the latter characterises the approach of most countries in the world.

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Russian | Spanish

Factsheet 3: Funding for sex workers' rights

Sex workers in communities around the world are organising to end exploitation and violence, to access appropriate and respectful health care, and to build movements for lasting change. However, as a result of criminalisation, discrimination and stigma, few institutions are willing to fund the fight for sex workers’ rights.

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Russian | Spanish

Factsheet 4: Sex Work versus 'Sex Trafficking' and understanding the difference

There is a common misconception that all sex workers are victims of trafficking or exploitation. Worldwide, sex workers and sex workers’ rights advocates challenge this misconception.

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Russian | Spanish

Factsheet 5: Violence in the lives of sex workers

To a large extent, the violence in the lives of sex workers is created by the conditions of criminalisation. Sex work is not inherently violent but discrimination and stigma against sex workers generate violence and limits sex workers’ access to justice.

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Russian | Spanish

Factsheet 6: Sex work and migration

Migration describes the process in which individuals or groups of people leave their place of usual residence. People migrate for a range of reasons and almost all states in the world are countries of origin, transit or destination for migrants.

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Russian | Spanish

Factsheet 7: COVID-19 and sex work

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and deepened existing inequalities experienced by sex workers, Under COVID-19 these challenges have become extreme and have driven many already-precarious sex workers into crisis, destitution and even death.

Find the factsheet in: Arabic | English | French | Hindi | Russian | Spanish

Factsheet 8: Counting Sex Workers in Feminist Foreign Policies

For a feminist foreign policy to be truly inclusive and deliver on its transformative potential, rhetoric must be matched by feminist practice. This requires safeguarding the rights of structurally excluded groups, including sex workers.  Too often, sex workers are poorly recognised in existing feminist foreign policy frameworks and yet are directly affected by foreign policies.

Read the factsheet here in English.

Know more about sex workers’ rights (in English) 


Factsheet (In Dutch): Sekswerk in Nederland

Sekswerk is een parapluterm voor alle vormen van betaalde seksuele diensten. De Nederlandse wet richt zicht op sekswerkers die een prostitutiedienst aanbieden. Klik hier voor de factsheet. 

Factsheet (In Dutch): Sekswerkbeleid in internationale context

Overal ter wereld zijn er volwassenen die tegen betaling seksuele diensten aanbieden. Sekswerk wordt voornamelijk gedaan door vrouwen maar ook door mannen, trans personen en non-binaire mensen. Niet ieder land gaat hier hetzelfde mee om. Er wordt vaak gesproken over vier modellen wanneer het gaat om sekswerkwetgeving. Klik hier voor de factsheet.


As the UN Women-led campaign “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future” continues to move forward on an adjusted timeline, it demands equal pay, an end to sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls, health-care services that respond to women’s needs, and their equal participation in political life and decision-making in all areas of life. All of these demands must encompass sex workers and sex worker advocates must be part of the process. With the deep and ongoing impact of COVID-19, this session celebrates achievements, shares good practices and promising innovations and discusses key challenges focusing on participation, representation and voice of sex workers and on ensuring sex workers’ rights to bodily autonomy.

Click here or on the play button to watch the full webinar.

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