Residents of Kolkata’s Sonagachi redlight district at a rally during the week-long sex workers’ freedom festival in 2012.
Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri
If India really wants to stop sex trafficking, legislators might consider asking sex workers in Kolkata how they keep the Sonagachi red light district safe and exploitation-free.
Little Lonsdale Street in the 1870s: a number of brothels were located in the area known as ‘Little Lon’.
State Library of New South Wales.
Rubbish excavated from brothels sheds light on sex workers’ lives in the 19th century. Despite the dangers, prostitution offered an independent living free of male control.
Brothels in Pompeii were decorated with murals depicting erotic and exotic scenes: but the reality was far more brutal and mundane.
Thomas Shahan/Wikimedia Commons
Though their activities were depicted alluringly in murals, the sex workers of Pompeii were slaves who lived hard lives.
Contrary to popular belief, sex workers were more likely than not to report that their work enhanced their wellbeing.
The study shows the negative effects of sex work's criminalisation, including a reluctance of workers to go to police and clients using it as an excuse to abuse workers.
Decriminalisation allowed sex workers to step out of the shadows and into active participation in public life.
Scarlett Alliance/Author provided
Full decriminalisation of sex work is advocated by many health and human rights organisations around the world. Sex workers in New South Wales kick-started the process 40 years ago.
Sex workers and massage parlours make friendly neighbours and prop up local economies.
Just dirty and disorderly? Sex work has a more complex role in the community than is commonly portrayed.
Masked sex workers lead a march to mark International Sex Workers’ Rights Day.
Sex workers in South Africa are all potential criminals due to the country's regressive laws. But their status may change soon, making South Africa the first African country to decriminalise sex work.
Former French sex worker Rosen Hicher, centre, who marched 800km to raise awareness of the Nordic Model.
A conference highlighting the oppression of sex work was held in Melbourne over the weekend. But online protesters campaigned against the event, targeting the university hosting it.
Despite evidence to the contrary of crime and community debasement in areas where there are brothels, there remains a strong overall sense of “NIMBYism”.
Nationally and internationally, states adopt many different approaches to regulate brothels, ranging from legalisation to prohibition. But underlying all of these approaches is an ongoing assumption that…