Who do you work with?:
Gender & Reproductive Health Forum has been working for the last fifteen years with sex workers including female, male and transgender of Pakistan who are vulnerable and most at risk of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. This organisation has been working for the sex workers community in collaboration with WHO, CIDA, UNICEF, PNSC, National AIDS Control Programme, Sindh AIDS Control Programme Pakistan and is presently working with UNFPA.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
After the process of identification and registration of sex workers, we develop a good reputation with the sex workers through our trained staff and peer groups. We arrange various health education and capacity building session to increase awareness regarding safe sex practices by highlighting the importance of condoms in context to STI’s and HIV/AIDS, to reduce the stigma among sex workers community and to increase their capacity and to empower them in order to enable them to recognise their fundamental rights, to pass a normal life with protected self-esteem. We also recruit our peer educators from these sex workers who are willing and fulfil the criteria. We also involve them in decision making regarding various welfare programmes.
Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?:
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face:
As the female sex workers as well as the male and transgender sex workers are a highly stigmatised population and has to face severe social discrimination in daily life especially in an Islamic country like Pakistan, where sex work is considered as illegal and unethical so the community struggles hard to overcome these challenges with the coordination and cooperation of stake holders. Lack of education and literacy. As the sex workers community is highly marginalised and stigmatised, living with unfacilitated life and deprived of fundamental rights and basic facilities etc so it becomes very difficult to cater the BCC services to sex workers.
Describe other areas of your work:
Gender and Reproductive health Forum (GRHF) is a registered non-profit and non-government organisation under Company’s Act 2000 and is working all over the country. GRHF is a unique organisation working with a high risk population with a key focus on male and female commercial sex workers, men having sex with men, drug users and hijras. It has been actively participating in the social sector to address HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and protection issues.