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Serbia: sex workers meet with theater actors in Belgrade

Recently JAZAS’ self-support group facilitators and 6 sex workers went to the theater in April to watch the play “Suma blista” (Wondrous forest) which touches upon issues of trafficking and prostitution. The daughter of one of the facilitators acts in the play, and they thought it would be a great idea to arrange for sex workers to come and see the play.

The play was very emotional, and the sex workers mentioned that they identified with several scenes. The story takes place in a roadside bar. A waitress, who had fallen in love with an older man, finds herself in an abusive relationship with him. The sex workers identified with this, as they had found themselves in situations in which the person they trust and love is abusive and violent towards them.

Further on in the storyline, a group of girls show up at the bar, with a man who is supposed to take them across the border through the forest. The sex workers identified with this quest for a better life, sometimes this better life is imagined somewhere else, where they think there are more liberal policies towards them and where they could work legally without fear. In some of the scenes the girls waiting to be taken across the border are fighting, in others they stick together as friends and colleagues; this type of bickering and sticking together is something that sex workers experience daily, however, at the end of the day they are like a family.

This was the first time that JAZAS organized an activity outside of the drop-in center. This was also the first time for most of the sex workers to go to see a play.

After the play, the group was invited to the theater café where they spent time with the actors from the play.

This was a very important outing, as the sex workers felt like equal citizens who got an opportunity to be part of a cultural event and to feel accepted. Some of the SW shared with group facilitators that this was one of the most exciting days in their life.

JAZAS intends to plan events like this more regularly in the future.

To watch parts of “Suma blista” click here.

More about JASAZ and Educational Center JAZAS
Contact person: Stasa Plecas, email: ecjazas@gmail.com