Sex workers project Indonesia

We believe that the end of AIDS is possible if there is more focus on key populations. Our project in Indonesia addresses barriers faced by the sex workers community related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Driven by community champions, we work to realize increased access to health services; no stigma and discrimination; and empowered sex workers with a strong sex worker-led movement.

One of the fastest growing HIV infection rates in Asia

After more than two decades of epidemic spread, the AIDS epidemic in Indonesia is still young, but alarming. Despite the fact that the prevalence at general population is still low, Indonesia has one of the fastest growing infection rates in Asia because it lags behind in some essential aspects of prevention, such as low use of condoms and insufficient utilisation of services, and has a weak capability in policy implementation. Insufficient utilisation of services continues, partly caused by stigma and discrimination both by public and by some health service providers. Sex workers are “considered as illegal”. Mere possession of a condom can be construed as a sign of sex work. This puts sex workers at risk of arrest and abuse by the police, although the law protects them from criminalisation. Recently, sex service locations were abolished and sex workers were driven underground, which makes it hard to access services and fulfill their human rights.

Sex workers claim a right-based HIV and SRHR response

Bridging the Gaps works with a Theory of Change approach. A Theory of Change is a description of a list of events that is expected to lead to a particular desired outcome. It is a visualization how change is believed to happen. In 2016, representatives of the sex worker community developed a specified Theory of Change that consists of short-,medium, and long term outcomes. The Theory of Change describes how we plan to realize increased access to health services; no stigma and discrimination; and empowered sex workers with a strong sex worker-led movement.

Through innovation and by building on previous work, we will strengthen civil society organisations’ ability to:

1. We facilitate community development

  • Strengthening project management skills;
  • Participating in an advocacy planning meeting to improve the lives of children of key populationsaffected by HIV;
  • Developing and disseminating information and education materials on rights and health for sex workers;
  • Maximising the role of Drop in Centres (DIC) to reach more sex workers.

2. We advocate for the continuously strengthening of services and upholding human rights

  • Ensuring meaningful involvement of sex workers as part of the community and to determine the allocation of local and provincial government funds in HIV issues;
  • Monitoring and analysing (online and offline) media reporting on sex work and sex work issues to be used for advocating and educating journalists.

Our partners

Our project builds on the strong advocacy work of our partner OPSI to put sex workers’ health issues on the political agenda and get them included in national plans. Their work is internationally supported by Aidsfonds.

Our other project in Indonesia

Bridging the Gaps also has a LGBT people project and a people who use drugs project in Indonesia.