Thematic Areas

Improving Laws and Policies for Sex Workers

Funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, this collaboration between the O’Neill Institute, Whitman-Walker Health, and HIPS, with the Institute as the project lead, explores how sex workers in DC access health care, how they interact with law enforcement, and how laws, policies, and practices designed to disrupt commercial sexual activity impede access to HIV prevention and care services. The purpose of the project is to explore the impact of laws and policies on sex workers’ access to clinical care and social services and recommend potential criminal law and policy reforms to better support sex workers in Washington DC. The project team is conducting focus groups with sex workers and interviews with public health officials and representatives from the DC government and law enforcement to identify barriers to HIV prevention and care and will produce a policy brief capturing major findings and recommendations. Working in partnership with community representatives, partner organizations, and advocates, the project team will use the policy brief to engage DC policymakers and officials to remove barriers and improve access to care for sex workers.