Global Key Policy Making Suggestions

You can download the SEXHUM POLICY REPORT covering the four national settings of the project (Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States) here:

SEXHUM Policymaking Report Final


Un résumé en langue française du rapport et de ses implications pour les politiques en France peut être téléchargé ici :



One of SEXHUM’s main aims is producing policy recommendations, at both local and global level, to improve migrant sex workers’ access to the correct support and identify best policies to prevent and combat trafficking and exploitation. 

Concerns around trafficking and the exploitability of migrant sex workers are at the core of policy making and regulation of the sex industry as a whole. 

By focusing on migrant sex workers, SEXHUM engaged in identifying best legislative and policy making practices for all sex workers, regardless of their migration status.

The research data and findings of the project strongly suggest the following policy recommendations:

Decriminalization and labour rights

  • The repeal of all repressive laws that criminalize both the sale and purchase of sexual services is the most appropriate and least harmful policymaking framework for sex work.
  • The decriminalization of sex work should be accompanied by anti-discrimination measures and socio-economic resources supporting the access of sex workers, including migrants, to healthcare, housing, employment, education, financial and insurance services, parenthood rights and other key dimensions of social life.
  • A work permit with sex work authorization should be available to migrants working in the sex industry. This should not mention sex work or ‘adult entertainment’ in order to avoid further stigmatization and victimization of migrants.

Anti-trafficking Policies and Interventions

  • Anti-trafficking interventions should separate themselves from anti migration and anti sex work law enforcement if they want to reduce the vulnerability to exploitation of the people they aim to support.
  • Access to protection and support for victims of trafficking should not be conditional to collaboration with law enforcement or to the possible prosecution of their traffickers.
  • Any policy and social intervention on sex work and trafficking can only have a chance of succeeding if it also includes prospective and actual migrants’ legal right to access the international and national labour markets.

Social Interventions

  • Sexual humanitarian, anti-migration, and anti-sex work initiatives and interventions are harmful to the lives and rights of migrant sex workers. As such they should be defunded and the resulting resources diverted to sex worker rights associations and other organizations supporting them.
  • Sex worker rights organizations and communities should be consulted before any new policies and interventions targeting sex workers are designed and implemented. Their feedback and reactions should be taken into consideration, including not proceeding with such policies and interventions.
  • Peer-to-peer (migrant) sex worker community support networks, organisations and outreach projects should be specifically funded and promoted to continue providing a range of free in-language services and community spaces.

Stigma, Discrimination and Abuse

  • Sex workers should be able to benefit from mainstream and targeted assistance and protection measures in the context of domestic violence.
  • Police who commit violence, harassment or other crimes against sex workers must be held accountable for their abusive acts.
  • Since sex workers are part of different minority groups, policies addressing sex work must effectively address all structural discriminations framing it such as sexism, racism, and transphobia.
  • The voices of groups representing marginalized sex workers, such as transgender sex workers, sex workers of colour, or immigrant sex workers, should be elevated.

Country-specific policy making implications are available in the specific country website pages. 

Overall and national policy making suggestions were elaborated drawing on our research data and in collaboration with sex worker rights activists including Julie Bates (Principal Urban Realists Planning & Health Consultants) and Jane Green in Australia, Thierry Schaffauser in France, Annah Pickering (NZPC – Aotearoa New Zealand Sex Workers’ Collective) in New Zealand, and Kate Zen (NYC) and Ashley Madness (LA) in the United States.