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Drop-in center closes in Slovakia

“It´s impossible to say how I fell… I worked in club more that 3 years and to made this decision was extremely difficult. Unfortunately, last year became impossible to find any financial support to continue in our work” says Ľubica Tornóczyová, former program coordinator.

“There were almost no local donors willing to support us. We were in previous years supported by foreign foundations but they are not able to fund us anymore” says Tornóczyová.

The club was situated in a storefront along a commercial strip in the underground passage of a subway station, just below the street where sex workers meet. Conveniently situated, the club was an immediate success.

Some sex workers would come just to take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee. Others to take part in one-on-one or group counseling related to their health or legal needs. Some received assistance in accessing social services, with the help of onsite social workers, while others picked up condoms and lubricant or took English classes. Odyseus also distributed clothes and cosmetics and exchanged gifts at Christmas.

After the first year of operation the club had some 70 regular visitors.
But local authorities in the meantime have introduced new regulations, that penalized offering and providing sexual services in public. Odyseus noticed a decrease in contacts with sex workers in that area, probably because of the penalization of sex workers by police officers.

“Of course, we are still providing services to sex workers through our outreach work program, but Club was something special” says Tornóczyová. “We will try to re-open Club in the future but now I´m no able to saywhen or if at all it will be possible.

“Sex work as a topic will be still present in Odyseus and I hope that these changes will give us more time for advocacy and promotion of human rights of sex workers” ends Tornóczyová with a sad voice.

More about Odyseus
Contact: Ľubica Tornóczyová, lubica.tornoczyova@centrum.cz