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By adam on Sep 30th, 2006
By olga on Aug 1st, 2006

On September 6-10, the first SWAN Network meeting was held in Budapest, Hungary. It was an opportunity for the SWAN Members to meet and get to know each other as well as to discuss the future of the Network. It was also a learning opportunity – part of the meeting was a seminar on working with media and advocacy for rights of sex workers. Participating were representatives of SWAN-member NGOs from 15 countries, as well as the technical coordinators of SWAN from the Hungarian Civil Liberty Union. Special guests were Rachel Thomas from the Sexual Health and Rights Program (SHARP) of the Open Society Institute in New York (www.soros.org), and Petra Timmermans, Coordinator of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, an organization based in Amsterdam (ICRSE, www.sexworkeurope.org).

By olga on Aug 1st, 2006

Association against AIDS – JAZAS, the SWAN member from Serbia, worked together with the Serbian Ministry of Interior to prepare a series of seminars under the title “Prevention of HIV/STI among Sex Workers”. The seminars are being organized during September and October in several main police stations in Belgrade, with an aim to sensitize law enforcement agency to the health issues surrounding street sex work. The interest seems to be huge, at the first workshop there were almost 100 participants. JAZAS prepared a new curricula for this two-day long event, using its own and experiences from abroad. “We are targeting police units that work on the street” – says Ana Krajnc, JAZAS Communications Officer – “We aim to engage the law enforcement agency to develop sensible and effective policies by considering health issues surrounding sex work. Sex work is illegal in Serbia and for example, condoms have often been used as an evidence material against sex workers.”

Contac Person: Ana Krajnc, JAZAS, Serbia
Email Address: krajnca@hotmail.com
Website: www.jazas.net

By olga on Aug 1st, 2006

Aksion Plus, the SWAN member from Albania, has recently engaged one of its clients, a Methadone-using sex worker, in an outreach program towards sex workers in marginalized groups. At the moment it is a needs assessment, prior to launching harm reduction services (including Methadone treatment), peer and health education, distribution of condoms, and referral to other services for sex workers.
Albania is a recipient of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) support, and Aksion Plus plans to start implementing GFATM by the end of this year.
Street sex workers, especially in Roma and transgender communities, are often harassed by the police, practice unsafe sex in parks, under bridges and in other unhygienic venues. This small outreach project has more ambitious plans in the future. In the presence of the law that prosecutes sex workers, Aksion Plus is striving to at least support them by providing basic life-saving services. So far NGOs have been focused on trafficking, shelters for deported sex workers and similar. No services were available to active sex workers in Albania. Aksion Plus started similar activities with drug users in 2000 when the law was against harm reduction, but with a special agreement with the Ministry of Interior managed to launch a very successful program.

Contact person: Genci Mucollari, Aksion Plus, Albania
E-mail: gencaxionp@albmail.com
Website: www.aksionplus.net

By adam on Jul 31st, 2006
By adam on Jul 31st, 2006

In July this year, the Coalition I Can Live, the SWAN Network member from Lithuania, initiated establishment of a national contact network of organizations concerned about sex work issues in this Baltic country. The establishment of the network has attracted attention of the leading national media and initiated public discussion about the rights of sex workers.

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