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International Union of Sex Workers


Our aim.


The International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) campaigns for the human, civil and labour rights of those who work in the sex industry.


All workers including sex workers have the right to:

  • full protection of all existing laws, regardless of the context and without discrimination. These include all laws relating to harassment, violence, threats, intimidation, health and safety and theft.
  • access the full range of employment, contract and property laws.
  • participate in and leave the sex industry without stigma
  • full and voluntary access to non-discriminatory health checks and medical advice

The current organisation of the sex industry presents many problems for workers and the communities within which the industry operates. Improving the legal framework and self-organisation of sex workers is to the benefit of all parties. Recognising both the rights and responsibilities of sex workers is the only sensible way forward.

IUSW Response to the Amnesty International consultation on decriminalising sexwork

April 8th, 2014

The IUSW was asked by Amnesty International for our thoughts about decriminalising sex work.  We have responded with this document in pdf format Sex Work And Human Rights


Laura Lee, Dr Belinda Brookes-Gordon on Newsnight

February 21st, 2014

Laura Lee and Dr Belinda Brookes-Gordon appeared on Newsnight to discuss the impending debate in the European parliament which intends to criminalise the purchases of sex.  Dorcas Erskine from Eaves was there to support Mary Honeyball who proposes this bill.

It was an infuriating debate with Dorcas Erskine shouting down  Belinda when Belinda was given the floor to speak, and was arguing that Dorcas’s statistics were misrepresentative.   Dorcas was so dismissive of academic peer reviewed  research. Throughout this debate  Belinda and Laura were silenced by the incessant interruptions from Dorcas.  Interesting to see various comments from impartial tweeters back up this view.

A video of the debate will be posted here in the next few hours, and then later the Newsnight visit to a German brothel.   Newsnight chose to visit a brothel and Germany, and did not explore alternatives like total decriminalization.  The alternative supported by us is the total decriminalization model as is practised in New Zealand.  This model gives power to sex workers to work how they want, whether that is a big brothel, a small brothel set up by women working together, lone sex workers, or street work.  In all cases the sex worker has the tight to refuse clients and to contact the police.

Newsnight debate 

Newsnight German brothel video coming.

Catherine Stephens and Mary Honeyball argue Mary’s proposals.

February 17th, 2014

Catherine Stephens sexworker from the IUSW and Mary Honeyball MEP argue the Nordic Model on the 14th February 2014 LBC with Duncan Barkes.  Mary proposes that the EU should recommend criminalising the purchase of sex throughout Europe.  There is a vote in parliament towards the end of February.

The audio of this discussion is here. Audio.mp3 

Brooke Magnanti talks at the Oxford Union about the Sex Industry

January 23rd, 2014

Brooke Magnanti talks about the sex industry and the rights and freedoms that sex workers do not have due to permissions given by the state.
Filmed on Wednesday 4th December 2013.