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.
In light of the International Day to end the violence against sex workers, the red umbrella was symbolically opened for the fourth time in the capital city of Macedonia. Sex workers and their supporters actively participated in the event organized by the Association for Support of Marginalized Workers STAR-STAR.
This year HOPS marked the International day to End Violence against Sex Workers in several regions in Macedonia – Skopje, the capital, but also Gostivar, Strumica and Ohrid where mixed teams of sex workers and other professionals work together on service provision for HOPS. Most of the activities were community-oriented, in order to get sex workers familiar with the importance of this day in regions that marked it for the first time, to provoke discussion about violence and the situation in their local environments, but also to engage sex workers in joint creative and fun activities that they can enjoy.
By Marija Tosheva, HOPS, Macedonia
On July 20, 2010, the second day of Vienna conference, SWAN organized an oral session on Sex work, mobility, migration and human rights in Europe and Central Asia. 6 experienced activists from the region, members of SWAN and TAMPEP networks, had a chance in front of an excellent audience to challenge and start a discussion on vulnerabilities and structural barriers faced by mobile and migrant sex workers to better health and human rights.
By Marija Tosheva, HOPS, Macedonia
Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS, Macedonia) became the recipient of the 2010 International Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, presented by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch. The award, which recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, was presented in Vienna on July 20, 2010, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference.
July 18-23, Vienna, Austria – This year sex workers and allies from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia had a chance to talk about barriers and issues that sex workers face in their countries, to show what groups and organizations have achieved in addressing the pandemics and violations in their region. The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) was represented by 11 activists from Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia and Montenegro, a team of young and energetic volunteers from Odyseus, Slovakia and a performance group from Bliss without Risk, Czech Republic.
Read January issue From Us to Us, by STAR sex workers' activist team of Macedonia. This issue features December 17 action in Macedonia, female condoms, sex workers' rights and more. Here..
On the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers STAR-STAR, the Macedonian organization advocating for the rights of marginalized professions, invites everyone to take part in the march of red umbrellas as a gesture of support for the rights of sex workers.
"От нас, для нас"
Читайте новый выпуск газеты STAR, посвященный 17 декабря. На македонском языке в PDF формате здесь.
"By Us to Us"
Read a new issue of STAR newsletter dedicated to December 17 in Macedonian. PDF is available here.
Marija Tosheva of HOPS, SWAN representative in Macedonia, shares her opinion about the IHRA and sex work-related issues.
This April 1st, fierce and fabulous STAR leaders Laura Feer and Tina made a spontaneous action for their rights. This action was all Laura and Tina, no donors, no organizations, just a fabulous idea and the guts to make it happen!
Sex workers’ organizations across Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia used the opportunity of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers to advocate SW’s rights. Below is a summary of the activities carried out be the organizations.
In Macedonia, as throughout the world, sex workers are pushed to the margins of society by a combination of prejudice, discrimination, and violence. Insults and hate plague their lives, pervade media reports, and direct the approach of social institutions. But the lives and livelihoods of sex workers comprise of much more and the conviction remains that the selling of sexual services does not justify denial of fundamental rights, to which all human beings are entitled.
On 25th-29th April 2010, the 21st International Harm Reduction Conference is taking place where it was first established in Liverpool, England.
In January 2010 the government of Macedonia proposed a new draft of the long-awaited anti-discrimination law. Though previous drafts included "sexual direction" as ground protected against discrimination, it has been eliminated from the present draft. Boris O. Dittrich, the advocacy director in the program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Macedonia.
December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and our featured video comes to you from Macedonia, where local NGO Healthy Options Projects Skopje (HOPS) partnered with WITNESS this year on a campaign to end violence, marginalization, and criminalization of sex workers.
In Macedonia, as throughout the world, sex workers are pushed to the margins of society by a combination of prejudice, discrimination, and violence. Yet, the fact that a person sells sexual services cannot be used as justification for the denial of their fundamental rights, to which all human beings are entitled.
STAR (sex worker rights activist group) of Macedonia designed and launched a calendar for 2010, to mark December 17th and sex workers’ rights. The calendar may be downloaded from SWAN's website here in pdf format, and quality print versions may be requested from the STAR team (write to SWAN coordinator to email@example.com ).
STAR Newsletter is celebrating its 1 year of existence! Read issue 9 here. It features, among other articles, confession of a sex worker, quotes from famous people. There is a sex advice column, and information on sexual rights. Those interested can check what the Egyptian horoscope holds for them.
The 10th issue of the STAR newsletter From Us to US is dedicated to December 17 and the issues of human rights. Read Issue 10 here.
The meeting brought together 32 participants from 16 countries with the aim to exchange experience, share problems and find solutions, renew and strengthen the partnership ties and get to know new network members better.
The Ohrid network meeting was preceded by an activists’ meeting. 18 sex worker activists turned the meeting room into an art workshop and a cafeteria to discuss issues and personal experience around sex work in their countries.
(translated from Hungarian)
The participants included sex workers and representatives of organizations promoting sex workers’ rights from 16 countries . When checking in it was already clear that we were about to have a training of relaxed atmosphere with a team of nice, intelligent and funny people. The level of the hotel service further raised our mood.