Who do you work with?:
maiz works in cooperation with migrant women who work in the sex industry. maiz's activities in the field of sex work are lead by the needs of sex workers. We develop our offerings, projects and events together with sex workers. Sex workers can visit us anytime in the counselling centre, but we also do streetwork, which means we visit sex workers at their work places.In additional to comprehensive, anonymous and confidential counselling services and the distribution of various information materials, public relations and lobbying for the rights of sex workers are also among our key activities. maiz acknowledges sex work as legitimate work and fights against the stigmatisation, discrimination and criminalisation of poeple who offer sexual services. Our objectives include eliminating the taboos surrounding sex work and securing (legal) improvements of the life and work situations of sex workers.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
Our activities are lead by the needs of sex workers and are intended to support the professionalisation and self-empowerment of migrant woment working in the sex industry. We develop our projects and information materials together with sex workers. Former sex workers are part of our organisation.
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
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
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:
Sex work in Austria is legal but regulations are very restrictive. Furthermore sex workers have to face different regulations in the 9 provinces of Austria. Because of restrictive laws sex workers are often dependent on brothel owners, because they offer legal working places. Sex workers are discriminated by law, e.g. mandatory testing still exists in Austria. Sex work is not decriminalised!. Discrimination and stitmatisation thtrough state authorities and society.
Describe other areas of your work:
For more then 20 years maiz has been active as a self-organisation by and for migrant women. As an independent association we aim to improve the living and working conditions of migrant women in Austria and to promote their political and cultural participation. Through anti-racist,queer-feminist, political and professional work in various fields maiz attempts to provide answers to the challenges surrounding work migration of women. Migrant women who seek support from maizs often work in the so-called continuum of "sex-aid-care work" as cleaning staff for personnel leasing firms, as labourers performing cleaning, caring and nursing jobs in private households, as well as nursing staff in the health sector and/or they are working in the sex industry. While their concrete situation is defined by legal regulations, political and economic factors are also decisive for their current living conditions. So we offer counselling and education programmes for all migrant women. But we also do research and cultural work.