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Unveiling the Regional Impact: War in Ukraine’s Ripple Effect on Sex Workers and Advocacy Organizations in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest briefing paper, titled “Regional Assessment of the Impact of the War in Ukraine on Sex-Workers and Sex-Worker-Led Organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.” This comprehensive report delves into the profound implications of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine on sex workers and the organizations that champion their rights across the broader CEECA region. Examining the multifaceted challenges faced by sex workers, the paper explores the economic, social, and health-related precarities exacerbated by the war. By shedding light on the experiences of sex workers in Ukraine and beyond, and assessing the responses of sex worker-led organizations, the report aims to contribute valuable insights for informed decision-making and advocacy efforts. We invite stakeholders, researchers, and policymakers to explore this important resource, providing a nuanced understanding of the impact of the war on the lives and well-being of sex workers in the affected regions.

This report documents the impact of the war in Ukraine on sex workers and sex worker-led organisations in the CEECA region. Firstly, it explores how the war affected the living and working conditions of sex workers in Ukraine. It looks, specifically, at sex workers’ economic and work-related precarities, and their access to healthcare and other basic services, including adequate housing and social protections. Centring sex workers’ needs and vulnerabilities in the context of the war, it also looks into community-driven responses to this humanitarian crisis, primarily provided by the sex worker-led organisation Legalife-Ukraine.

This report additionally analyses the impact of the war on sex worker communities and organisations in other countries in the CEECA region that have been directly and indirectly affected by the war. Whilst acknowledging that the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory weighed negatively on the political, economic, and social situation across the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region, this report focuses on the challenges faced by sex workers, including those fleeing Ukraine, in various CEECA countries. It asks how sex worker groups across the CEECA region have responded to the crises, economic and socio- political shifts caused by the war, and how they have in turn supported and secured the basic needs of sex worker communities, including Ukrainian refugees.

Finally, this report looks into the challenges faced by sex worker-led organisations and initiatives and includes an assessment of the impact of donor strategies and flexibility in programming and implementation, providing recommendations for interventions and funding streams that could overcome or soften the adverse effects of the war on sex worker communities and organisations.

The report is available in English and Russian

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