ARTICLE: Using Human Rights to Hold the US Accountable

Advocates and researchers Kari Lerum, Kiesha McCurtis, Penelope Saunders, and Stephanie Wahab who were involved in the Universal Periodic Review process at different points in 2010 and 2011, have produced an article about the importance of Recommendation 86 and the UPR  for publication in the Anti-Trafficking Review (a peer reviewed journal published by the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women).

Using Human Rights to Hold the US Accountable for its Anti-Sex Trafficking Agenda: The Universal Periodic Review and new directions for US policy “describe[s] the unprecedented collaborative activist process by which a human right agenda for US-based sex workers was introduced and approved at the United Nations Human Rights Council” and “highlights the ongoing importance of the global human rights community for bringing a diversity of marginalised voices—including those of sex workers—to the attention of US policy makers.” The article concludes with an “assessment of the unique policy reform opportunities and challenges faced by sex worker and human rights activists as a result of this historic moment.”

In 2010, the Best Practices Policy Project and the Desiree Alliance worked with the Sexual Rights Initiative and many organizations defending the rights of people in the sex trade across the US to submit a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States. This report and follow up advocacy lead to Recommendation 86 that the U.S. “ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers [sex workers] to violence and human rights abuses.” In March 2011 as a result of months of organizing by US sex workers and their allies, the State Department accepted Recommendation 86 acknowledging that “[n]o one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution.”