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Kyrgyzstan: sex workers get together to learn and unite

May 15-16, 2009 – Sex workers participated in a seminar on empowerment and strategies to increase efficiency of HIV prevention among sex workers of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan organized by Tais Plus, SWAN representative in Kyrgyzstan. But this was not the only goal of the meeting. Participants used the opportunity to discuss ways of uniting and creating a nationwide network of sex workers after having voted unanimously for the necessity to have such a network in Kyrgyzstan.

Sex workers from 8 cities and towns (Bishkek, Karakol, Balykchi, Tokmok, Kara Balta, Osh, Jalalabad and Kyzyl Kija) gathered together and proposed topics for the seminar which included sharing best practices and improvement of peer-education techniques. Regional health service organizations supported the idea of involving sex workers from different parts of the country.

Part of the meeting was dedicated to the discussion of creating a sex workers' network in Kyrgyzstan. Sex workers learnt about other existing networks, their activities and about participation of Tais Plus in the work of international networks. Through a game, the participants could understand what network is and how it functions. Then they themselves developed plan of action for the future network and how the information will be disseminated within this network. There were many interesting suggestions and ideas.

At this meeting, the participants expressed the concern that it is difficult to solve some problems being isolated and alone. United efforts would have more power in addressing sex work issues in the country.

Naturally, it will take time and effort to organize and officially register the network. Right now the participants are developing the mission of the future network and are very enthusiastic about the idea of uniting and getting new exciting experience.

More about Tais Plus http://swannet.org
Contact person: Shahnaz Islamova, email: taisplus@gmail.com