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P4.132 Reducing Harassment of Female Sex Workers (FSWs) in Low Income Setting: Tripartite Approach in Bangladesh
  1. M B Khan
  1. Save the Children, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Abstract

Background Female Sex Workers (FSWs) intervention is one of the most focused programmes in Bangladesh. FSWs are socially very much stigmatised and their rights are seriously violated. Police and other law enforcing agencies often raid their settings and put into gaol. But the concerned beneficiaries are reluctant to support them. With supports from HIV activists, some FSWs organised themselves and formed a self help group (SHG). Group members feel more empowered than other general FSWs with increased self esteem. They have started working for protecting their own rights. Being service provider, Save the Children assisted them in installing a tripartite approach through ensuring effective linkage among SHG, lawyers agency and local police which helps FSWs getting access to legal support by their own effort.

Methods In this approach, SHG of FSWs, lawyers agency and local police centre are working together when a sex worker is imprisoned. These three parties have a memorandum of understanding for some activities which will ensure mutual benefit. Selected SHG members will contact with local police centre as well as lawyers focal person when a sex worker is captured. The lawyer agency engages lawyers for getting bail of the sex worker with nominal fee. And the motivated local police person avoid in raiding sex workers setting unnecessarily.

Results This tripartite approach has started giving excellent result. It started working in favour of sex workers’ community. The self esteems and confidences of sex workers’ have significantly increased among FSW community especially in the SHG working area. This also helps changing the attitudes of influential people of the society.

Conclusions Any good approach really works if all concerned stakeholders play their role at the right moment and in an appropriate way. This approach is one of the most successful examples in reducing harassments to the FSWs.

  • Approach
  • Harassment
  • Tripartite

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