AIDS2010 Sexsicher.de at the ICRSE NGO booth
During the conference in Vienna Booth I had a chance to talk with ICRSE member Harriet Langanke from sexsicher.de
Why are you here at the AIDS2010 conference?
I am here wearing many hats so I will focus on sex work for this interview. Sexsicher.de is a member of the ICRSE Network and we are taking the opportunity of the AIDS2010 conference to share information about our project and to network with others who are working in the area of sex work advocacy and health and in particular our work with clients of sex workers.
Our poster presentation has been shown at other events and during the conference we distributed flyers about sexsicher.de at the Women´s Networking Zone and elsewhere.
What is sexsicher.de
In general there are very few client outreach projects or little research done about clients of sex workers. Working with clients also has an impact on improving the human rights of sex workers who are currently taking on too much of the responsibility for safe sex. Why not take clients seriously? When working with clients I see that as supporting sex workers since as we know there are two sides to the dynamic. Still in 2010 this is necessary to promote.
Sexsicher.de has been online since 2004 expanding since then to include languages other than German, for example we now also have Turkish, English and Spanish. We actually began research on clients already in 2002 and the website is just part of our client focussed project; we also have a cooperation with client based forums and other self-help communities. In the beginning the only communications among clients of sex workers was through the internet; they did not know each other and they used false names to remain anonymous. At the first real-life meeting we organised everyone was anonymous but since then clients have formed communities outside of the virtual world and organise face-to-face social activities.
Has the way clients talk about sex workers changed over the years?
Yes client forums are also teaching forums. For the group that has been active for some time they have changed the way they talk about safe sex mainly as a result of having better access to good non-judgemental information about safe sex and sexual health. We noticed that client forums are also more carefully monitored for abusive language about sex workers than in the past. For new clients their learning begins when they first join a forum and older client members do police how language is being used - for example by commenting on posts that use racist language or having rules of conduct for members.
Our flyers for clients are available in many brothels in Germany and support centers.
A big thanks to Harriet for sharing information about sexsicher.de at the ICRSE NGO booth at AIDS2010!
Harriet was also responsible for organising the successful Women´s Twinning Project for AIDS2010. Irena Andrijevskaja from ICRSE member organisation DEMETRA Lithuania was one of the participants in the project.