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HESED initiated a number of activities to mark December 17th, starting with a meeting with local institutions and organisations to introduce them to the day and to sensitized them to ways of speaking about sex workers in order to reduce stigma against sex work and vulnerable groups. This is the second meeting on this issue organized by HESED, the first was on 17th December 2009 and it has now become a “tradition”.

There were representatives from several local institutions: the Center for Dermatological and Venereal Diseases, Regional Inspection for the Protection and Control of Public Health, the Program for the Prevention and Control of HIV and AIDS within the Ministry of Health, the Caritas Foundation and the Concordia Bulgaria Foundation. No journalists attended the meeting.

We also launched a new brochure “Safer Work” about sex worker rights done through our INDOORS project. We shared the materials on outreach with female sex workers in 2 apartments and 1 bar – all the girls were very interested and reacted positively to the new materials.

We also sent a message to sex workers on the Internet. The message entitled “KEEP YOUR RIGHTS PROTECTED” had a short explanation about the 17th of December and was sent to 121 sex workers through a specialized web site (112 female and 9 transgender sex workers). We got 3 very positive answers in return.