HOPS conducts training for police officers on Merseyside model for ugly mugs
On 25-26 September 2014 HOPS-Healthy Options Project Skopje in Macedonia conducted a training for 14 police officers on the British Merseyside 'Ugly Mugs Scheme' aimed at protecting sex workers from violent offenders through cooperation with police. The training was led by Tim Keelan, Detective Superintendent of the Merseyside Police and Shelly Stoops from Liverpool Community Health Trust. The "Ugly Mugs" scheme works by sharing information on violent or potentially dangerous clients and known criminals, making it easier for sex workers to report attacks.
At the training examples of real cases were presented from UK and Macedonia which gave an overview of the situation. At the conclusion of the training the police expressed their openness to cooperation and gave some recommendations on how to ensure that sex workers receive proper treatment when reporting violence.
"This is only the beginning. In order to change their attitude and current situation we have a lot of work to do, but it is important that the police are open for cooperation, and that they had very positive response to the ugly mugs scheme", said representative of HOPS on results of the training.
The original British National Ugly Mugs Scheme brings together a UK network of sex worker projects. With the victim's consent, Ugly Mugs provides both local police forces and the National Crime Agency with reports of offences against sex workers. The charity also alerts sex workers to dangerous individuals.
About HOPS- Healthy Options Project Skopje, Macedonia:
HOPS is a civil society organization that has actively implemented its programs and activities in Skopje and other cities in Republic of Macedonia, since 1997. In 1997 it introduced the first needle exchange program for prevention of HIV/AIDS among drug users and their families in R. Macedonia and three year later, in 2000, it began implementing the first program for support of sex workers in Skopje. HOPS works on promotion, respect and protection of the human rights and freedoms towards improvement of health and socioeconomic status of all people, especially drug users, sex workers and other marginalized groups, based on the principles of harm reduction, by equal access to services, community strengthening, capacity building, research, analyses and advocacy.
As an acknowledgement of the work of many years, HOPS at the 18th International Conference for HIV/AIDS in Vienna, received the International Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights for 2010. The award was given by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network – www.aidslaw.ca and Human Rights Watch - www.hrw.org