US State Department of the UN Human Rights Council’s Recommendation No 86 aims to “ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses.”
Key Facts About Human Rights Violations & Sex Work ~ For the 2020 UPR of the U.S.A. |
Previous UN Body Recommendations: In prior UPR process, the U.S. accepted Recommendation 86, requiring it to “[u]ndertake awareness‐raising campaigns
for combating stereotypes and violence against [LGBT people] and ensure access to public services, paying attention to the
special vulnerability of sex workers to violence and human rights abuses.” The U.S has pursued policies that directly contradict this commitment, putting sex workers at heightened risk of human rights abuses. In 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee challenged the U.S. Justice Department’s claim that arresting people for sex work is a humane or effective way to fight trafficking, and called on the U.S. to align its anti-trafficking initiatives with human rights norms, which reject criminalizing sex workers.
Key Recommendations for inclusion via USHRN: The United States of America should:
- End the criminalization of sex workers lives by full decriminalization (anti-criminalization) of sex work and eliminate policies, such as “zero tolerance” of prostitution, “prostitution free zones,” and loitering measures, that undermine protection of and respect for human rights of sex workers. Sex workers should also be able to expunge any criminal records relating to these laws.
- Vigorously investigate and put an end to policing practices targeting transgender people.
- Repeal SESTA/FOSTA and eliminate other federal policies that conflate sex work and human trafficking and prevent sex workers from accessing services such as healthcare, HIV services and support.
- Address the atrocities of current immigration and migration border policies in the United States. Migrant and immigrant sex workers are especially affected by these laws as they are under no protections of federal guidelines.
- Remove “participation in prostitution” as grounds for removal from the country, from the category of “crimes of moral turpitude” and as grounds for denying visas/legal status to individuals seeking to visit, reside in, or become citizens of the United States.
“We were long overdue for the United States to take the needs of sex workers seriously, particularly the need to stem violence and discrimination,” says attorney Sienna Baskin, Co-Director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York.
The next universal periodic review is in 2025.