Campaign organizers: Public Association “Legal Protection Center” Zan Talaby ”

Dates of project realization: 01.10.2019 – 31.12.2019

Project goal:

attracting the attention of officials and general public to the problems of people living with HIV by overcoming stigmatization and discrimination of sex workers through the promotion of the “CHASE THE VIRUS, NOT PEOPLE!” campaign.

Brief description:

As part of the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!”, awareness-raising activities were carried out aimed at preventing HIV infection and reducing stigma and discrimination against sex workers. Informing the target group within the framework of the project was based not only on the level of awareness, but also on the formation of a positive attitude towards sex workers. Public association “Legal Protection Center “Zan Talaby” is the first organization in the city of Shymkent, which has raised issues of discrimination and stigma, violence against sex workers.

In the framework of the project, the staff of the public association “Legal Protection Center “Zan Talaby” and volunteers distributed 1,200 brochures in parks, malls, shopping centers, an arboretum, at the Miras University among law students, near the Regional Hospital, city clinic No. 1, 8, among the participants of the round table in the framework of establishing cooperation between civil society and the Public Center “Legal Protection Center“ Zal Talaby”; part of the brochures were also transferred to the Shymkent city AIDS center.

As part of the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!” effective condom deliveries and promotion of the practice of their mandatory use were established. 5040 condoms were distributed to sex workers in saunas, hotels, daily apartments; during an action dedicated to World AIDS Day at Miras University; part of the condoms was transferred to the Shymkent city AIDS center.

In the course of outreach work, a mini-survey was conducted on the frequency of condom use, their shortage, and awareness of HIV testing. Of the 40 sex workers interviewed, 20 know that they can take an HIV test at the AIDS center, only 12 people use condoms during sexual intercourse, and over the past six months only 18 people have tested for HIV. Currently, only the City Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS distributes condoms to sex workers, but in a limited number, the staff is not enough to cover a large number of sex workers; booklets are distributed in a limited number.

On the eve of World AIDS Day, the staff of the Legal Protection Center “Zan Talaby” conducted educational lectures for students on HIV / AIDS prevention. Education plays an extremely important role in ensuring youth access to HIV / AIDS prevention services. High-quality information on sexual education services for adolescents tailored to their gender characteristics plays an important role. Such educational programs are necessary to prepare adolescents for puberty period and developing relationships that will help prevent HIV infection.

As part of the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!” media work was carried out with 4 television channels and 11 newspapers to attract attention to the problems of sex workers. Press releases were disseminated on the conduction of a journalistic investigation on violations of the rights of sex workers, disclosing the problems of people living with HIV, and informing the public about the goals of the campaign. However, the organization was faced with the fact that the media were chasing a sensation and did not consider it necessary to cover the violation of the rights of sex workers, as the state is fighting with prostitution. As part of the campaign, 2 messages were published in the newspaper Shara-Bara with information about the campaign, the provision of free legal assistance and a telephone hotline.

As part of the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!” on the organization’s Facebook page the campaign was actively promoted. Social networks are a new communication channel for a young organization. In total, 40 posts were posted to inform users of the social network. Representatives of state bodies and NGOs subscribed to the organization’s page. Many of them proposed cooperation in promoting human rights, holding joint events, etc.

One of the objectives of the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!” – providing free legal assistance to sex workers. Legal assistance was provided by disseminating information on the issues of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan in oral, written forms, as well as in representing interests in state and law enforcement bodies. Appeals for qualified help came not only from Shymkent, but also from the districts of the Turkestan region. If necessary, lawyers involved competent state and law enforcement agencies to solve the problems and subsequently redirected appeals to the relevant authorities. A total of 52 appeals were received on the following issues:

In order to improve the access of sex workers to health services, protect rights from discrimination, stigma and violence, it was decided to send to the authorized bodies the recommendations received during the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!”. The recommendations were sent to the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Migration Service of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Digital Development, Defense and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

On November 28, 2019, a roundtable was held in the city of Shymkent as part of the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!”. The event was aimed at representatives of local non-governmental organizations with the aim of establishing cooperation with stakeholders in order to achieve the most effective assistance to target groups. As part of the roundtable, information was provided about the organization, the advocacy campaign “Chase the virus, not people!”, about the rights of sex workers, people living with HIV, about the problems of target groups, about stigma, discrimination, about the mechanisms of interaction of NGOs in assisting target groups. During the discussions, specific tools and effective methods for successful work were identified.

Brochure “Chase the Virus, not People!” (in Russian)

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