Universal Periodic Review of United States Human Rights Record
This year, the United States participated in a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – a process set up by the Human Rights Council at the United Nations to assess the level of human rights in each country. The U.S. received more than 200 recommendations.
Recommendation 86 called on the Obama Administration to
"...ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses."
The Sex Workers Project joined a coalition, Human Rights for All: Concerned Advocates for Sex Workers and People in the Sex Trade, to convince lawmakers to accept Recommendation 86.
- We signed onto a letter to the Department of State (PDF, 283K) from more than 120 human rights organizations.
- We made an official statement to the United Nations (PDF, 37K) as a member of civil society with "observer" status.
Last week, the U.S. released its report to the U.N. states saying, "We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution." On March 18th, in Geneva, the U.S. formally endorsed UN Recommendation 86.
We believe this is the first time the United States has affirmed the need for human rights protections for sex workers.
- We endorsed an oral statement (PDF, 45K) to the U.N., delivered by Darby Hicky in Geneva.
- We sent a letter of commendation to the State Department (PDF, 299K), thanking them for taking this brave step and outlining changes that should be made to support sex workers rights.
- We offered legal support to solidarity demonstrations by sex workers (PDF, 111K) celebrating this victory.
What you can do
Send a letter of thanks
Thank the Department of State for officially condemning violence and discrimination against sex workers. You can use our letter (PDF, 299K) as an example.
Write letters to the editor, tweet, blog and spread the word
Here is a press release (PDF, 74K) to get you started.
Learn more ...
... about the UPR process in this guide from the Human Rights Project (PDF, 1.7MB).