Working for Change 349
Sex workers are organizing to improve their lives.
They want the same things as other women.
Strength through organizing
Because of their low status as poor women and as sex
workers, women who sell sex sometimes feel unworthy and
unable to change their lives. Working alone, it can be very
difficult for a sex worker to make her clients use condoms, or to
protect herself from violence.
But in many places sex workers have learned that by
working together they have more power to make the changes
necessary to improve their lives. In some places sex workers are
organizing to improve their working conditions, by insisting that
their clients use condoms, or organizing against rough treatment
from police. In other places, sex workers with the help of
others in their community have started programs to learn new
skills so they will be less dependent on sex work.
Here are some ideas that sex workers from around the world
have shared about how they are working together and working
with others to make their lives better.
Teach each other how to make your work safer. You can get a
group of sex workers together to talk about:
• how to use condoms to prevent STIs, including HIV, and how
to get treatment for STIs when necessary.
• family planning methods, how to get them, and how to use
• how to choose a customer and avoid dangerous situations.
• how to support each other in handling a client’s unwanted
• how to limit the time a sex worker spends with clients.
➤ “I used to work
in a club where we
didn’t always use
condoms. There was
a lot of pressure NOT
to. So I left. Now
I work in a house
where condoms are
the RULE. It saves
me a lot of worrying
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012