Gender Equality and Decent Work for Female Sex Workers in Jamaica

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Rashalee MITCHELL, The University of the West Indies Mona campus, Jamaica, Jamaica
Women in developing countries face more complex challenges as they are more likely to be unemployed than men, be a part of informal and part time work. Work is an essential component of human existence and women should be able to pursue decent work which is free from discrimination and stigma with satisfactory conditions. The situation becomes even more complex for female sex workers, who are at a greater disadvantage because of the gender inequality that exists in the society. The fact that there are no entrenched laws that protect female sex workers from the numerous vulnerabilities and the exploitation that they are susceptible to, means that they face further marginalisation from the labour force and other areas that are basic to human existence such as; access to health care.

This paper examines the important role that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can play on highlighting women equality and their ability to derive the benefit of decent work. Additionally, it argues for the inclusion of female sex workers in any discussion on women equality and decent work. Decent work principles should be applied to this group with the view to reduce the multiple forms of exploitation that plague them. The issue is of importance on various levels including; better access to health care, expansion of human and labour rights and towards a more entrenched social policy, that will offer further social protection to female sex workers and that may also have positive implications for the larger society.

The global goals in particular numbers five and eight present an opportunity to highlight the unique circumstances of female sex workers. This paper provides some recommendations to improve the situation of all women and in particular sex workers for the attainment of a more inclusive development.