Country infromation: Macedonia, (Македонија, officially the Republic of Macedonia - Република Македонија) is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe.
Human Rights 2015: an overview by Amnesty International
Number of sex workers: 2200- 3600 according to the estimation made in 2010 by the Institute for public heath.
HIV/AIDS rates: There have been registered 239 cases of HIV/AIDS until the end of February 2014.
HIV rates among sex workers: 0% as of August 2015.
Legal situation around sex work: Individual sex work in public spaces is illegal, it is an administrative offense and it is regarded as a violation against the public order (art. 19 from the Law on misdemeanors against the public order and peace). The same article states that it is punishable by a fine to provide (rent) space for an act of prostitution. Also the same law defines among others restaurants and hotels as public spaces, so their owners can be punished for providing space for sex work.
The Criminal Law (Art. 191, year 1996) punishes:
- the crimes that aim at procuring, encouragement, earning by facilitating the provision of sexual services;
- human trafficking;
- involvment of underaged in sex industry.
There is no regulation about renting an appartment to a sex worker.
There is no law that punishes clients. Still, any person can be punished under the Law on misdemeanors for having sex in a public place. Practically, police targets only sex workers.
Services in country: Services for sex workers are only provided by the civil sector and those services are in major part sponsored by the GF through the Ministry of Health. Sex workers have access to
- social services (support for implementing social and health rights),
- legal services (free legal support for addressing violations of rights and strategic court litigation),
- health services (free gynecological services, condoms and lubricants, free STI medications, VCT),
- services from psychotherapist (for overcoming burn out, dealing with effects from experienced violence),
- services from pedagogue (for supporting the children of sex workers),
- outreach activities, direct services in Drop-in center (laundry machines, showers, hot meal),
- peer educations,
- creative workshops,
- educational workshops,
- services from stylist/peer educator.
Most of the funding for the services for sex workers comes from the GF with its final round until 2016.
Sex workers’ movement: STAR-STAR is a formal civil society organization lead from sex workers positioning as the first sex workers collective on the Balkans with its Executive Board comprised of 100% sex workers.
SWAN members marked the International Sex Workers’ Rights Day on 3rd of March and the International Women's’ Day on 8 of March.
SWAN, within the Regional Platform EECA, has developed a video and community guide on the community’s engagement in Global Fund supported processes on the national level.
SWAN members from Poland, Macedonia, Russia, Turkey, Slovakia and Ukraine commemorated the 17th of December with different events.
Члены СВАН отметили 1 декабря, всемирный день борьбы со СПИДом, проведением различных мероприятий.
On 1st of December, The World AIDS Day, SWAN members celebrated with multiple activities.
Between 10 th -12 th November, 2016, in Budapest, Hungary, SWAN in collaboration with IWRAW Asia Pacific hosted a Regional Meeting to discuss follow-ups on Concluding Observations given by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) to 10 countries in the CEECA region - Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.
The research encompassed 73 sex workers operating on the territory of the City of Skopje. The interviewees were women, men and transgender individuals from the open scene, closed scene and the scene of Shuto Orizari (the district with the majority of roma people).
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.
As Macedonian civil society organisation HOPS reports, sex workers in Macedonia have been awarded protection against the unlawful treatment of the police and the criminal court for the second time.
On December 17 SWAN members held different local actions to raise the awareness and commemorate International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
On December 1, 2015 a number of SWAN members joined the commemoration of the World AIDS Day.
During the period May 31st - June 1st, STAR-STAR organized two-day training on HIV, Human Rights and Sex Work Activism with support of ICRSE-The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe. The training took place in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia and 16 sex workers attended the training.
Sex workers, sex workers’ rights activists, groups and allies celebrated May 1 with various actions. SWAN members also joined the celebration, you can read more about actions that took place in Turkey, BiH, Bulgaria and Macedonia on May 1, 2015 below.
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.
A video address of a Macedonian sex worker on December 17.
"Stop violence against sex workers"
New video from HOPS Macedonia, talking about the significance of 17th of December and demanding to stop violence against sex workers.
HOPS - Healthy Options Project Skopje, in cooperation with the Civil Initiative for the advancement and promotion of the rights of sex workers STAR - STAR Skopje, has produced this video to promote the International Day to End Violence against sex workers and to promote their rights.
February - Marh 2013, Macedonian civil society organizations submitted two shadow reports to the 54-th CEDAW session, one of which reflected the issues of human rights violations of sex workers. The first one was prepared and submitted by the Association ESE (http://www.esem.org.mk/Root/mak/default_mak.asp) and Akcija Zdruzneska and the second was submitted by Roma Center Skopje. The Coalition for Sexual and Health rights of marginalized communities Skopje (Coalition) gave contribution in the preparation of the shadow report of Association ESE and Akcija Zdruzneska regarding the situation of female members of marginalized communities such as sex workers, drug users, lesbian, bisexual women and transgender. The representative of the Coalition took part in the informal meeting with the Committee and in lunch briefing with experts, members of the Committee in Geneva. Read background article here: http://swannet.org/node/2157
February - March 2013, Macedonian civil society organizations submitted two shadow reports to the 54-th CEDAW session, one of which reflected the issues of human rights violations of sex workers.
By Natasha Boshkova, Coalition for Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities Skopje
In September issue read about:
-10 things which you need to do this month. One of them is: Be a fighter- fight for your rights, fight for your success, fight for the things which make you happy, fight for the happiness of your loved ones)
- prostitution in the temples
- Women's baths and houses during the Old Roman Empire
- Terminology (bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, inter-sexual, homophobia ext.)
- Sex therapy
- Happy birthday Virgo!
Use online translation to understand Macedonian STAR newsletter :)
In this issue read:
*STAR opens its new office to involve more sex workers
*Find out the meaning of the terms sex worker and sex work
*Confession of a sex worker (an interview with a Serbian sex worker who works in Vienna.
Read in Macedonian