Our mobile counselling aims to reach female sex workers who are engaged „behind closed doors“ e.g. in apartments, massage parlours and brothels. The counselling takes place once a month directly at the women's workplaces.
The conversations are conducted by two Amnesty for Women e. V. street workers. The project is mainly addressed at Thai workers, where later on, counselling to other nationalities shall also be offered.
During the counselling, information especially about health issues are provided to the sex workers, as well as assistance in finding a lawyer who is specialized in family law, health insurance and working conditions.
In the long run the main aim is to help the women to overcome their inhibitions to see an employee for a counseling session at the Amnesty for Women e.V. office.
Here is some advice for Streetwork counsellors from the book "To walk in her shoes" from Prapairat Mix.
What to do:
- Do prepare well and know beforehand what to ask or what to talk about with the sex workers in order to avoid bringing up inappropriate or offensive topics and questions.
- Do conduct your visits or consultations between midday till 4pm as this is the best time for such purposes.
- Do call the establishment beforehand to confirm that you have the correct address.
- Do research and decide beforehand on a route to take to your streetwork appointment address.
- Do ask someone you know for directions before you leave if you’re unsure, or use a navigator.
- Do use private means of transport as this is more convenient and you will cover more ground this way.
- Do have someone waiting outside in the car for you while you’re inside for your visit. The person waiting should be alert and avoid using devices such as earphones.
- Do prepare information about your organization and the services you provide (for instance in the form of brochures or pamphlets) and take this information along with you to give away at the beginning of your visit.
- Do also pack some lubricant in you welcome package. Some women use baby oil as lubricant without knowing that this may break the condom.
- Do organise a workshop on the correct and proper use of condoms if your organization has nurse or if you have access to one.
- Do insist that they take the condoms for personal use anyway if you happen to be in an establishment where they deny that they offer sexual services, e.g. massage parlours. This should reduce the embarrassment and encourage them to accept.
- Do learn to read between the lines. If a sex worker is too busy to talk to you, they might not say it directly, so be flexible enough to reschedule your appointment.
- Do call the sex workers and invite them to your organization when you have social events; this should improve the rapport and encourage them to open up to you much more easily when you visit them for counselling.
- Do encourage the sex workers to visit you at your organisation’s offices for a one-on-one consulation. This will encourage them to leave their place of work from time to time, since some of them never leave their working environment and remain isolated.
- Do respect their decision if they do not grant you entry into their work environment of if they refuse to talk to you; they have their reasons.
- Do leave your organisation’s contact information outside their door if you are denied.