Who do you work with?:
We work with male, female, transgender sex workers across the country and have set up forums in 35 cities in Myanmar. We are working together with other female Sex Worker Network members in our network. There is also a significant number of male and TG sex workers in our network.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
We work closely with INGO, NGO, National Aids Programme, who provide sexual health services for sex workers and a few other sex worker-based organisations. Our network's sex workers meet in the support organisation drop-in centre on a regular basis. Also, once a year we have an annual meeting that brings together representatives and leaders from different states and regions.
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
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face:
The challenge for sexworkers is police arrest. This is a challenge mainly for female sex workers in Myanmar. If any female sex worker is arrested then they have to go to prison and lawyers are seldom of any help to them. The Police also have a quota to arrest sex workers. The second challenge is that most of the sex workers face a lot of stigma and discrimination. Even within organisations which are not sex worker-led. The children of sex workers cannot even go to school because of his/her mother's occupation. There is also discrimination from the health profession too.
Describe other areas of your work:
We are currently working with sex workers who are released from prison and helping them reconnect with their family and friends. We are also working for sex workers who are arrested and sent to prison. We support their on going medical treatment and also provide nutritional support. Many of the sex workers we work with have become sick, especially HIV positive. Very few organisations help sex workers that have been released from prison. We wish to work with more people, both sex workers in prison and those who have been released.