Seven Country Teams of Sex Workers Trained on Community Empowerment

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European Regional Correspondent

A regional training on the SWIT (Sex Worker Implementation Tool) took place in Budapest on 21-25 June 2016. Teams from 7 countries attended the training: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia. Among them were female, male and transgender sex workers.

The training was facilitated by ICRSE representatives Luca Stevenson and Anastacia Ryan and by SWAN Programme Officer Roxana Vasi.  

The topics of the training were community empowerment, sex work and the laws, violence, sex worker-led community services, condom programming, community-led clinical services, programme management, and organisational capacity building.

Georgian participants were concerned with discrimination from medical staff, and explained to the group that violence from the police is rare.

Ukrainian participants were focused on a law proposal on the legalisation of sex work.

Kazakh participants were concerned by the lack of confidentiality when HIV results are given to third parties (outreach workers).

Kyrgyz sex workers at the training explained to the group that sex workers are unlawfully detained by law enforcement officers, and attacked by religious and nationalist organisations.

The group from Serbia shared their concerns about the recent law change that have increased fears for sex workers.

Kristina from Sloboda Prava, Serbia, shared her opinion about the training: “I joined Sloboda Prava after the law on sex work was harshened in Serbia this year. The training was more than useful for me. I met other sex workers and activists. I learned from them and I learned about the situation in their country. I learned from their problems. I also learned how to use this knowledge to fight the enemy and how to change the perception of sex work and push for decriminalisation of sex work.”

On June 27-29 SWAN held a training for 2 Regional Community Experts on Global Fund processes, through the NSWP Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund grant to provide Global Fund trainings.

The goal of the training was to train Regional Community Experts to support sex worker-led organisations to engage with and make best use of the Global Fund and its processes, through assisting in the facilitation of regional workshops to train National Community Experts and providing technical support to the regional workshops participants.

At the three day long training, led by Mick Matthews, Senior Programme Officer at NSWP, the 2 regional community experts from Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan had the chance to receive in-depth information about Global Fund processes.

Also at the training the Regional Community Experts discussed the national contexts in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia with the trainer. Through these examples they could better understand the mechanisms and tools that lead to meaningful engagement in Global Fund processes.

On the last day of the training participants developed their activity plans for meaningful engagement in Global Fund processes in their countries.

They have the support of Mick Matthews from NSWP until the end of the year to start implementing their plans.