Social Protection for Sex Workers in Jamaica: The Way Forward for Policy Development

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Rashalee MITCHELL, The University of the West Indies Mona campus, Jamaica, Jamaica
Commercial sex work presents an important area for social policy and development. In Jamaica, the activity is considered illegal, unethical and immoral but nonetheless, continues among the younger females in the country. Female sex workers have been identified as a vulnerable group because of the risk of: sex trafficking, HIV and the illegal drug trade and may forms of abuse. These multiple forms of vulnerability, pose challenges for development and have implications for social policy, which need to be clearly defined. The absence of a social policy framework for sex workers presents challenges for national development goals and human rights’ commitments. An expanded social policy framework linked to gender equality, human rights and the International Labour Organisation (ILO’s) Decent Work Agenda, is likely to enable sex workers to have access to enhanced social protection, labour rights, health rights and reduce the risk of abuse and exploitation that sex workers encounter.

The aim of this presentation is to highlight some of the major findings from the study of female sex workers in Jamaica. It will also denote a blueprint for a more entrenched social policy that offers widespread social protection for sex workers in Jamaica.