New Mobile Phone Application for Sex Workers in Russia

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European Regional Correspondent
Source (institute/publication): 

An application for mobile phones was developed for sex workers in Russia. The application is called Red Umbrella (Красный Зонт) and its goal is to inform male, female and transgender sex workers about their rights, sexually transmitted infections, about the history of sex workers’ movement in Russia and in the world.

The application has been developed in collaboration with “Steps” Foundation (Moscow, Russia), “Doctors of the World” and NSWP members Silver Rose in the framework of the project “Red Umbrella”.

Sex workers’ rights are often violated in Russia. The selling of sexual services is an administrative offence and the Criminal Code makes it illegal to keep brothels and organise sex work.

In November 2015, the CEDAW Committee recommended Russia remove the punishment of voluntary adult sex work.

The application was developed to address the needs of sex workers in a modern way. Sex workers were involved in testing the application before it was launched.  

The application includes:

  • The history of sex workers’ movement, and information about the organisations that support those movements such as NSWP and SWAN
  • The history of sex workers’ movement in Russia and the history of Silver Rose
  • The contact information of sex worker friendly organisations in various regions of Russia
  • Tips on how to deal with law enforcement officers, such as information about what rights sex workers have, and the obligations of the detainee and police officers
  • How to protect private property
  • How to write a complaint against police officers
  • Information about sexually transmitted infections

The developers of the application are planning to enable feedback from the community and other organisations to improve the application. There are also plans to find funding to develop the content with the possibility of online consultations with lawyers, peer educators, doctors and social workers.

The developers also plan to enable and emergency button for help from Silver Rose lawyers.

“We would like the application to be useful for all the community and organisations for the support and help to the community, the self-development of it and many other benefits,” said Kirill Barskiy from Steps Foundation.