Health impacts of the criminalisation of sex work

The event is timed to coincide with the upcoming publication of a systematic review in PLOS Medicine of the public health evidence on the impacts and pathways in which sex work laws and police enforcement practices affect sex workers’ safety, health and access to services. Dr Lucy Platt will present findings from the review on behalf of the co-authors (Lucy Platt, Pippa Grenfell, Rebecca Meiksin, Jocelyn Elmes, Susan Sherman, Teela Sanders, Peninah Mwangi and Anna-Louise Crago).

Luca Stevenson (International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe) will present evidence on how sex work laws affect sex workers’ health in France where the purchase of sex is criminalised. Katherine Footer (John Hopkins University) will present findings from Baltimore, US - where all aspects of sex work are criminalised - on how policing affects the health and welfare of trans women working in sex work. 

Peninah Mwangi, Chief Executive of the Kenya-based organisation Bar Hostess Empowerment and support Programme and co-author of the review will talk about how her organisation advocates for sex workers in the criminal justice system and works to reduce violence and discrimination against sex workers.  Dr Raven Bowen, Chief Executive of the UK-based organisation National Ugly Mugs, will talk about their work to reduce violence by raising awareness of dangerous clients and assisting individuals to bring about prosecutions.  Dr Mirna Guha from Anglia Ruskin University will draw on her research in India to discuss how women experience and navigate 'everyday' violence and power inequalities in social relations within and outside sex work. 

Schedule for event:

12.30                     Lunch and registration

12.55                     Introduction (Pippa Grenfell)

13.00                     Presentations on health impacts of criminalisation (Lucy Platt, Luca Stevenson, Katherine Footer)

13.45                     Discussion

14.00                     Presentations on sex workers’ experiences of violence, safety and accessing justice (Peninah Mwangi, Raven Bowen, Mirna Guha)

14.45                     Discussion

15.00                     End


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Free. Registration required.