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Assessing the impact of the war in Ukraine on sex workers: a SWAN report

SWAN – The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network announced the release of the latest briefing paper titled “Regional Assessment of the Impact of the War in Ukraine on Sex Workers and Sex Worker-Led Organizations in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia”. VirusOff shares this comprehensive report, which 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.

The paper meticulously examines the multifaceted challenges faced by sex workers, shedding light on the economic, social, and health-related precarious situations intensified by the war. Focusing on the experiences of sex workers in Ukraine and beyond and evaluating the responses of sex worker-led organizations, the report aims to provide valuable insights for informed decision-making and advocacy efforts.

SWAN warmly invites stakeholders, researchers, and policymakers to delve into this indispensable resource, providing a nuanced comprehension of how the war has affected the lives and well-being of sex workers in the regions under scrutiny.

The report begins by documenting the war’s impact on the living and working conditions of sex workers in Ukraine. Specifically, it explores economic and work-related uncertainties, as well as issues related to healthcare, housing, and social protections. The report centers on the needs and vulnerabilities of sex workers during the war, highlighting community-driven responses, particularly those provided by the sex worker-led organization Legalife-Ukraine.

Furthermore, the report analyzes the repercussions of the war on sex worker communities and organizations in other countries in the CEECA region directly and indirectly affected by the conflict. While recognizing the negative effects of the Russian invasion on the broader CEECA region, the report focuses on the specific challenges faced by sex workers, including those fleeing Ukraine, in various CEECA countries. It explores how sex worker groups across the region have responded to the crises, economic shifts, and socio-political changes caused by the war, emphasizing their support for the basic needs of sex worker communities, including Ukrainian refugees.

In conclusion, the report delves into the challenges confronted by sex worker-led organizations and initiatives. It includes an assessment of the impact of donor strategies and flexibility in programming and implementation, offering recommendations for interventions and funding streams to mitigate the adverse effects of the war on sex worker communities and organizations.