UN Women response resources

UN Women has asked a number of organisations to submit statements and information regarding „sex work, the sex trade and prostitution“. (See UN Women’s call for „consultation“ here.)

Submissions deadline is 16 October 2016, to consultation@unwomen.org . Mails are to be titled: „Written submission“.

Please remember to send copies of your letters, research, documents to UN Women also to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. He is relatively new in his position and this is an opportunity to bring him up-to-date on our human rights approach to prostitution. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

Below find a list of links to Open Letters to UN Women, Conventions and other documents and material that may help. In addition of course provide any information from different countries and the effect of current laws and the scope of exploitation.

The list is by no means complete, and any additions will be gratefully added. Not all of these documents specifically endorse the Swedish approach of decriminalising those in prostitution and criminalising their exploiters – the buyers, the pimps and the traffickers, irrespective of how these call themselves. But they cite human rights and human dignity as their foundation, and they list women’s rights, show how to word calls for action, and provide links for further demands and obligations.

Open Letters to UN Women:

Letter by Apne Aap on the subject


And Apne Aap’s petition on the subject:


Kvinnofronten Sweden


Abolish Prostitution Now (Kathleen Barry)


Social democrats Sweden


Letter by the EWL


Swedish women’s lobby


 Conventions, Resolutions and international treaties:

Draft Convention Against Sexual Exploitation – CASE  (which also lists essential UN documents)


The 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others


 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women


UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency): Report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.


UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency): Report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.


Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development.


UN Recommendation: (cited in the UN Women letter)
Leave No One Behind: A Call To Action For Gender Equality And Womens Economic Empowerment


EU documents – both EU and Council of Europe:

European Parliament resolution of 26 February 2014 on sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality (with links to the relevant EU documents)


Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence („Istanbul Convention“), especially article 36.2:

Article 36 – Sexual violence, including rape

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the following intentional conducts are criminalised:

a) engaging in non-consensual vaginal, anal or oral penetration of a sexual nature of the body of another person with any bodily part or object;

b) engaging in other non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a person;

c) causing another person to engage in non-consensual acts of a sexual nature with a third person.

Consent must be given voluntarily as the result of the person’s free will assessed in the context of the surrounding circumstances.

Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the provisions of paragraph 1 also apply to acts committed against former or current spouses or partners as recognised by internal law.


(link to the document in various languages:

Sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality


Study on the gender dimension of trafficking in human beings


Council of Europe Resolution 1983 (2014): Prostitution, trafficking and modern slavery in Europe


Council of Europe – Motion for a recommendation | Doc. 12920 | 26 April 2012: Criminalising the purchase of sex to combat the trafficking of people for sexual exploitation.
(This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only those who have signed it. I’m including it for reference purposes.)


Bill for the French law as the most recent example of the Nordic Model / Swedish Approach being adopted – the “motifs“ cite essential conventions and give a legal foundation for this law with a grounding in human rights and dignity:
PROPOSITION DE LOI renforçant la lutte contre le système prostitutionnel,


The law was adopted with the title: LOI n° 2016-444 du 13 avril 2016 visant à renforcer la lutte contre le système prostitutionnel et à accompagner les personnes prostituées (1)

https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=64CFAE9D010E57C664070DB7B2BDDD37.tpdila21v_1?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000032396046&dateTexte=&oldAction=rechJO&categorieLien=id&idJO=JORFCONT000032396043 )

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