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REAL STORIES – NEWS FROM THE UNITED FRONT OF SEX WORKERS OF UKRAINE
During the 125 days of the war, almost 500 sex workers, who found themselves in a difficult situation, had received material assistance and support from the regional offices of CO “Legalife-Ukraine”. (The story of each of them is a story full of despair, pain, fear and danger. On the one hand, these stories are all different, but, on the other hand, they are very similar, because all this people are united by a common grief – the WAR in UKRAINE – and a common hope for VICTORY and long-awaited PEACE.
TETYANA, Kryvyi Rih
Sex worker Tatiana, mother of three children, two of whom are living with her in Kryvyi Rih – one 3 years old, the other – 7. The eldest son before the war studied and worked in the city of Dnieper. Like many of us, Tatiana worked hard to provide for herself and her children, and at the end of February, tired of the cold, she dreamed of going to the sea with her baby in the summer. But, unfortunately, Putin and his army of orcs have trampled on her plans, her hopes and the dreams of her children.
After the start of hostilities, Tatiana lost her job – many of her clients left the city, some went to the ranks of the Armed Forces to defend the homeland, others simply did not had the money to pay for sexual services. Finding another job, even in a big city, is quite difficult right now – many companies are forced to lay off their employees without paying benefits or compensation.
Yes, very soon a woman with children was left unable to pay rent for housing, to buy the most necessary things – even food and medicine. She had to live with children in basements (bomb shelters) and shelters, and sleep on the floor, without mattresses and pillows. There were no warm clothes or blankets, all the personal belongings she could take with her fit in a small travel bag. Due to the basement dampness in early spring, the children began to get very sick.
“My brain refused to accept this situation. It seemed that I would wake up now, and everything around would return to normal… », – remembers Tatiana
Through mutual acquaintances, Tatiana turned for help to Svetlana Makogon – our representative in Kryvyi Rih, told her about her troubles and psychological problems that began to appear in children:
“My fear began to affect my children as well. My condition began to be transmitted to them – they became more closed, irritable, and they became afraid of the slightest rustling. The youngest son began to be afraid to sleep alone. “
Thanks to the support that CO “Legalife-Ukraine” received from Ukrainian and international partners, and from caring people from around the world, Svitlana provided assistance to Tatiana and her children in the form of food, medicine, hygiene products, warm clothes and blankets.
After Tatiana passed the first stress and shock from the beginning of the war, the feeling of helplessness passed. Tatiana made a difficult but necessary decision – to take the children abroad during the war. Svetlana helped Tatiana to build a route and provided her with everything the organization needed for the trip with the children – food, money for current travel expenses, contacts of various partners who can help settle in one of the European countries. Today, Tatiana is safe with her children in a European country, she has started receiving state aid and the treatment she and her children needed.
“I thank God and fate for the help sent to me through the wonderful people who work in the CO “Legalife-Ukraine “. Thanks to their support, my family and I did not get hungry and homeless. “
Maria, a sex worker, has a small child and lives with a drug addiction. Before the war, she and her daughter lived in eastern Ukraine, after the start of active hostilities they were forced to flee their hometown and found themselves in Poltava – without work, without housing and without money to live. Like many other migrants, Maria was housed in one of the city’s educational institutions, where they still live.
Temporary housing, like the city itself, is overcrowded, people are under constant stress, and this leads to certain difficulties – people with chronic diseases, people with a drug addiction, sex workers, etc. – all of them are falling victims to stigma and negative attitudes, emotional outbursts, sometimes even aggression from neighbors.
Maria was not able to return to sex work in order to be able to find (and pay for) a separate home and take care of the child. It was extremely difficult to provide sex services due to competition in the field, as well as new dangers associated with the martial law in the country – curfew, increased police patrols, constant document checks, and so on.
Maria had a hard time adapting to the new conditions and her health deteriorated dramatically. She needed urgent medical attention, but did not dare to go to the doctors, due to drug addiction, lack of money and fear of a negative attitude from the medical staff.
It was at this time that Maria met our representative Marina Pogorila. Thanks to Marina’s partner network in the city, Maria was able to receive timely medical care from friendly doctors, receive medication under the program for drug addicts and other services. Now her health and life are not in danger.
Also, Maria did received from he necessary food and hygiene kits, baby food and diapers from our organization. Later, Marina invited Maria to attend meetings and information sessions for sex workers, and later to join their initiative group of sex workers.
Today, Maria regularly attends meetings of the initiative group, receives consultations from a psychologist and receives food kits, hygiene products and medicines she and her child need.
Maria: “I am grateful for the help and support, for now it is easier for me. I am gradually getting used to the new conditions. But I really want to go home and I believe it will happen. “
NEWS FROM THE UNITED FRONT OF SEX WORKERS OF UKRAINE
CO “Legalife-Ukraine” continues to work during the war, to gather additional resources to provide emergency assistance to the SW throughout Ukraine, responding to new challenges and getting used to new conditions.
Despite the dangers and risks to their own lives, community leaders, activists, and paralegals of the sex workers in the regions continue to work and provide assistance to war victims: collecting and distributing charitable assistance to SWs, displaced persons, or victims of shelling; providing information on services, shelters, counsel and accompany victims to receive timely assistance and psycho-emotional support.
For 125 days now, our regional leaders have been helping to meet the needs of key communities in food, medicine, hygiene products, blankets and warm clothing.
Our paralegals to continue their human rights work, recording violations of the rights of sex workers in DATACHECK, providing paralegal advice, helping sex workers get legal advice.
When it is necessary to restore the rights of victims and overcome obstacles in obtaining services, our activists accompany and transport sex workers to social and medical institutions, crisis centers, helping to recover lost documents, to obtain status and assistance from the state for migrants, to sign declarations with family doctors. etc.
Despite the fatigue and fears, our girls and boys try to support others with a warm word, to encourage.
We are proud of our regional representatives!
Our Sex Worker Hotline continues to operate. In addition to peer counseling, sex workers can get free help from psychologists and lawyers.
ASSISTANCE TO THE SEX WORKERS COMMUNITY
We have been receiving financial assistance from our friends and partners for 125 days now, for which we truly thank everyone. Thanks to this support, we are able to support the most vulnerable of our compatriots: large and single-parent families, women, children, people with disabilities, people with HIV and other chronic diseases, and so on.
Thanks to the partners: SWAN, NSWP, THE RED VAN, STICHTING PROSTITUTIE INFORMATIE, ASOC COMITE DE APOYO A LAS TRABAJ, Ukrainian Women’s Foundation, ICF “Renaissance”, BO “100% of life – a network of PLHIV” and caring people from around the world
We continue to seek new sources of funding to support as many victims of this war as possible. If you want to support us and have the opportunity to do so, the bank details of the organization is at this link