Safety First is a program to reduce violence against sex workers, comprised of human rights documentation, legal rights training, legal services and a crisis hotline. The Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers has worked for decades to ensure the rights of sex workers of all genders, including combating violence against sex workers.The success of Safety First programming demonstrates that within an enabling environment, this method has the power to reduce violence against sex workers and, potentially, the knock-on effects of violence including HIV. Violence can be reduced but will be difficult to completely eliminate, so the violence response system must be maintained and strengthened as an integral component of HIV programming. However, this documentation also demonstrates the need to influence not only sex workers but governments, NGOs and law enforcement in order to create an enabling environment for sex workers to be part of the solution to violence against sex workers. Criminalization and stigmatization of sex workers promotes violence against sex workers, particularly by armed uniformed personnel and other agents of the state, who act with impunity in places where laws against sex work are in force.