In Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, sex workers remain among the most marginalized members of society. Policymakers and authorities view them as nuisances to be ignored or immoral lawbreakers rather than as individuals who can and should be protected from violence and receive social and economic assistance and support. At the same time, the surging HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region places sex workers at increasingly greater risk of infection not only from HIV, but also from other potentially debilitating conditions related to sex work and drug use.
Produced by the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network with support from OSI, this report provides an overview of these and other issues that sex workers face in the region as well as the political, economic, and social factors that influence policies and attitudes toward sex workers. It focuses primarily on existing laws and policies and their consequences from the perspective of HIV prevention and treatment. The report also offers recommendations designed to uphold sex workers' human rights and remove barriers that reduce their ability or willingness to obtain access to consistent and equitable health care and other social services.