Facebook page of SWAN Twitter page of SWAN Instagram stream Youtube channel of Swannet RSS feeds

site available in english and russian

  • English
  • Russian


Member Organizations
More Information

Latest news

By admin on Mar 8th, 2013

Contact person:
Alexandra Pódová
Coordinator of program Red Umbrella
OZ Odyseus
e-mail: sexwork@ozodyseus.sk
tel.: 02/52 49 43 44

Press release to publish on 8th March 2013
International Women's Day - to all women, even those who work in the sexbusiness!

International Women's Day - a celebration of women and their struggle for equality. 8th March is celebrated in Slovakia for many years. NGO Odyseus works with women sexworkers by program Red Umbrella.

By admin on Dec 21st, 2011

Individuals and groups from the CEE/CA, as well as other regions,were invited to submit testimony about the impact of different laws and HIV. SWAN submitted a submission that tried to include experiences from all across the region. Many other SWAN groups individually submitted such as HOPS (Macedonia), Lega-Life (Ukraine) and HESED (Bulgaria).

In the end, Odyseus (Slovakia), SZEXE (Hungary), TAIS PLUS (Kyrgyzstan), Association for Assistance (Russia) and SWAN were accepted to present in front of the commissioners at a regional meeting in Moldova in May, 2011.

With the generous help of the Open Society Foundation, presenters from the various groups including Katerina Jiresova, Irina Maslova, Gulnara Kurmanova, Mariann Bodzsar, Stasa Plecas from Serbia who was representing SWAN and Aliya and Anna-Louise from the SWAN network met in Chisinau, Moldova to strategize.

The group decided that the strongest strategy was to brainstorm 4 key issues as they affected groups across the region and to present as a block. One person per issue and one person to summarize and spell out the recommended actions groups were calling on the Commission to endorse.

Read the statement in English

Read the statement in Russian

By admin on Dec 15th, 2011

Interview with Žaneta, 47 years-old Bratislava

How long have you been working in the sex industry?
Z: Four years.

How did you start?
Z: I was involved with guys, the classic relationship, but everyone wanted me only after I had sex with them. And because every woman also has her needs, a few time, I have. But when it’s the next day and they didn’t call or anything. I felt stupid, a low sense of self. For two years I had a lover, only for sex. It was not out in the open. There was no courtship, no invitations on trips, to the lake, or to the cinema. It was simply about sex but I still had to love him. It was always just the night, and then I had to head back home to my house in Bratislava.

By admin on Dec 15th, 2011

By Anna-Louisa Crago
What is the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (GCHL)?
It is a commission put in place by the UN to study the impact of different laws on HIV-prevention, treatment and care. It also studies the impact of laws on discrimination and violence against people living with HIV or at high-risk of HIV.

The commissioners are a group of highly respected individuals and experts from around the world and include former heads of state, judges and policy experts. They are advised by a committee of technical experts with extensive knowledge about HIV and the law.

The commission is particular because it is independent of the UN. That means that the commissioners can come to their own conclusions, even if coutries within the UN or UN workers disagree with these.

What does the GCHL have to do with SWAN?

Individuals and groups from the CEE/CA, as well as other regions,were invited to submit testimony about the impact of different laws and HIV. SWAN submitted a submission that tried to include experiences from all across the region. Many other SWAN groups individually submitted such as HOPS (Macedonia), Lega-Life (Ukraine) and HESED (Bulgaria).

By admin on Mar 8th, 2011

Translated from INTOXI, Slovak magazine for sex workers and drug users
Not long time ago I received an invitation from Eva from Odyseus, to attend a meeting of sex workers, which was to be held in Vienna. It was a pre-meeting of huge one-week long AIDS conference, about which you read in the previous issue of Intoxi. There was also an invitation for all of us, sex workers to attend the meeting together with our outreach workers. The greater was my disappointment, when in the morning, at the train station, I in vain waited for some of my colleagues, which, together with me and Katarina, the director of Odyseus, were supposed to represent Slovakia.

By admin on Mar 8th, 2011

By Aliya Rakhmetova
July 16, Vienna, Austria - The International AIDS Conference (IAC) was preceded by a number of events to provide space for journalists, communities representatives, networks and researchers to make their participation in the IAC as meaningful as possible. In the framework of the IAC, SWAN was invited to hold a training with the National Press Foundation (http://www.nationalpress.org), whose primary mission is to increase journalists’ knowledge of complex issues in order to improve public knowledge.

By admin on Mar 7th, 2011

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 admin on Mar 7th, 2011

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.

By admin on Feb 7th, 2011

By Lubica Tornosziova, Odyseus, Slovakia

During the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, SWAN ran a marketplace booth in the Global Village. Global Village was a space where everybody could go in, without needing special permission or badges. This meant that our booth was accessible not only to conference participants but also to the general public.

By Aliya on Dec 17th, 2010

17 December, 2010, Bratislava - Odyseus, SWAN representative in Slovakia, uses International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers in a more positive way. The sex workers are invited to a small party. There will be nice food, typical for this period of the year and small presents for each guest!

By Aliya on Jul 11th, 2010

There has never been a time, when fundraising for sex work projects was easy. Nonetheless, at Odyseus, we always had a few donors, who accepted (and even preferred) to support proposals that included services for sex workers. Since Slovakia joined the European Union, and even more specifically the Euro Zone, the situation started to change rapidly. As a result of the financial crises, funding diminished and with it, so did support for projects for sex workers and even more so, for advocacy for sex workers’ rights. Nowadays, we have very few, if any, options for funding to even apply for.

By Aliya on Jul 11th, 2010

On Saturday, May 29, 2010 the third and final generation of SWAN groups participated in a training on media sensitizations in Tirana, Albania. Genci and Enkelejda of Aksion Plus were gracious hosts in their beautiful city. Representative from sex work projects from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro and Latvia participated in the one-day event which also brought together sex workers from Hungary, Albania and Bulgaria.

By Aliya on Jul 11th, 2010

June 3, 2010
By Anna-Louise Crago
Over all the ethical breaches and problems surrounding media representation of sex workers echoed those of previous SWAN groups who did the media sensitization trainings. The fact that Hungary has a legalized system with tolerance zones contributed new dynamics and issues to think about.

By Aliya on Apr 12th, 2010

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.

By Aliya on Dec 16th, 2009

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.

By Aliya on Dec 15th, 2009

Dear all:

To mark December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, the Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia is releasing its new report, Arrest the Violence: Human Rights Violations Against Sex Workers in 11 Countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The report is based on interviews with more than 200 male, female and transgender sex workers between 2007 and 2009 and chillingly documents widespread violence and discrimination against them, particularly by state actors.

According to Rebecca Schleifer of Human Rights Watch’s Health and Human Rights Division:

Arrest the Violence is the first piece of research done under the leadership of sex workers to document human rights violations they face across Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Sex workers throughout the region report that they face verbal and physical abuse, including beatings, kidnapping, and sexual violence, by police and private citizens. Sex workers also report that police confiscated condoms as “evidence” of sex work, and subjected them to mandatory HIV testing.
These are not isolated incidents. The physical, sexual, and verbal violations of sex workers’ rights are part of a pattern of abuse by police and in the community that is documented throughout the region.
It is my sincere hope that this report will serve as a catalyst to awaken the broader human rights community to the importance of documenting and denouncing human rights abuses against sex workers, and working with sex workers to end these abuses.

To access the report, please follow the links below.
Questions or comments may be directed to SWAN@TASZ.HU.

Aliya Rakhmetova
Coordinator Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN)


By Guest on Sep 29th, 2009

C.A. Odyseus, SWAN member in Slovakia, has introduced a new element in their outreach services for street sex workers. Street cafeteria though still a novelty, has already proved to be a successful step in making social work more accessible and involving for sex workers.

By Aliya on Mar 29th, 2009

„More than 90% of people who are working on the streets are women, according to our latest survey” – said Lubica Tornoczyova, the team member of Odyseus in an interview which she gave to the most read weekly paper in Slovakia. The article introduces the activity of the Odyseus and SWAN, and emphasize that prostitution is definitelly not a dream job for anyone; people usually choose it as a „less evil” solution, instead of stealing or giving children away to childcare.

By Aliya on Feb 2nd, 2009

„Moju dobrú kamarátku na ulici niekto zavraždil. Milé dievča, mala iba devätnásť rokov. Mne sa stalo pár mesiacov predtým, že na mňa zákazník vytiahol nôž. Udala som ho na polícii, ale o dva dni ho prepustili,“ vyratúva skúsenosti z ulice Mária. Aj tak je presvedčená, že nahlásiť treba každý útok, opísať zákazníka, iba tak sa dá zabrániť ďalšiemu násiliu. Kým nastúpi do auta, dobre si všimne ečevéčko. „Ja viem, aké sú moje práva, nie som nevzdelaná nula,“ pokračuje s tým, že už podávala sťažnosť aj na počínanie policajtov.

By Aliya on Jan 26th, 2009

Sex work is work, and everyone has freedom to choose their work - was the message of this year’s December 17 campaign in Slovakia. Odyseus, SWAN member from Slovakia organized a month-long distribution of coasters and postcards with campaign messages in ten Slovakian towns.