UNDP and UNFPA convened a meeting of experts on 24-26 April 2014 in New York to examine strategies to reflect on the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law related to sex work. The participants were composed of experts from sex work communities, human rights and HIV, women's rights, anti-trafficking groups, academia, and donors and individuals from UN agencies working on sex work-related issues. Informed by the various disciplines and multiple perspectives of participants, the discussions aimed to reflect on the Commission's recommendations and to deliberate on ways forward in advancing the best rights-based policy frameworks on the issue of sex work and HIV as well as the evidence available and required to inform robust and rational policy.
As found by UNAIDS in its 2013 Global Report female sex workers bear a severe and disproportionate HIV burden – they are 13.5 times more likely to be living with HIV than other women. As the report noted, sex workers experience barriers to HIV prevention services with their health needs mostly unmet by public health facilities. These issues were also discussed in the Commission's report, which called for enabling human rights environments as a way to improve positive health outcomes for key populations including sex workers.
Using the findings and recommendations of the Commission as a basis, the meeting sought to identify strategies, evidence and arguments to advance complex issues of human rights, health, gender and development pertaining to sex work. The meeting also convened a dialogue with UN agencies and donors to identify opportunities and challenges for advancing sex workers human rights in the context of broader development goals.