Making Sex Work Safe
A Practical Guide for Programme Managers,
Policy-Makers and Field Workers

Making Sex Work Safe: a practical guide for programme managers, policy makers and field workers brings together experience and knowledge on programmes working to reduce HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among male, female and transgender sex workers.

The new handbook uses case studies, stories and community-based projects to explore the issues and challenges facing sex workers and sex work health programmes and provides many practical suggestions for project development. It builds upon a previously unpublished guide written by the World Health Organization's Global Programme on AIDS.

Making Sex Work Safe is for:

  • programme managers and field workers including peer educators
  • policy and decision makers
  • non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community groups
  • national and district level AIDS/STD and health programme staff

Making Sex Work Safe is written in clear English with 150 illustrated pages of practical guidelines, case studies and innovative ideas. It describes in detail:

  • How to work with sex workers, their clients, and the 'gatekeepers' in the sex industry.
  • The characteristics of good practice in developing sex work projects, including how to plan new interventions and how to monitor progress and measure success
  • A human rights approach to sex work services with emphasis on involving sex workers.

Topics covered in Making Sex work Safe include:

  • Research and situation assessment – Asking the right questions and involving the right people from the beginning.
  • Implementation – Establishing a mix of activities which are effective and sustainable.
  • Evaluation – Measuring success and failure and identifying new challenges.
  • Targetting – Should programmes seek to reach all sex workers, or focus separately on men and women? Which kinds of strategies can reach sex workers in rural areas or where prostitution activities are largely hidden?
  • Achieving safe sex – Successful ways for sex workers to NEGOTIATE safe sex SELL safe sex, DO safe sex and TEACH safe sex.
  • Innovative and accessible STD services – How have these been established for sex workers and clients in various settings?
  • Advocacy – Oppressive laws and policies create conditions which increase sex workers' vulnerability. Many projects work to change those conditions – some with remarkable success.
  • Migrant workers – Are particularly vulnerable, and face problems such as language and underground status.
  • HIV positive sex workers – What policies and support services can support people with HIV who work in the sex industry?
  • Rehabilitation and alternative income generation – What role have these had in light of challenges posed by HIV/AIDS?
  • Transgender – What specific issues face transsexual and transvestite sex workers?
  • Peer education – An invaluable health promotion strategy which if implemented appropriately, can significantly enhance programme effectiveness.

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Created: June 23, 1996
Last modified: October 4, 1998
NSWP Network of Sex Work Projects
3 Morley Rd. Observatory
7925 Cape Town
Rep. of South Africa