CHIPTS collaborated with the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers (CHRPC), the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project – Los Angeles (SWOP-LA), and the UCLA Luskin Global Lab for Research in Action to publish a brief on Health Outcomes Associated with Criminalization and Regulation of Sex Trade. Learn more and access the brief below.

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On this International Sex Worker Rights Day, we examine the criminalization of commercial sex trade and frameworks seeking to regulate it across the globe. Preventing the spread of disease, including sexually transmitted infections and HIV, are powerful levers for justifying the existence of such laws. This brief seeks to answer the question—what is the evidence that criminalization of sex work has positive effects on public health?

We find that the public health justification for criminalization and regulation is not supported by the weight of scientific evidence. Structural innovations to shift law and policy around the criminalization and regulation of sex trade merit further study, especially exploration of alternatives to subjecting individuals to criminal punishment. Evidence suggests that by removing criminal liability from the picture, approaches that seek to integrate sex workers into society can help advance both human rights and labor rights of communities made vulnerable by multiple systems of oppression.

Access the policy brief by downloading the pdf file below. A full list of references can be found here.


Health Outcomes Associated with Criminalization and Regulation of Sex Trade - Policy Brief