ITUC // Trade Union Development Projects Directory

For trade unions, development cooperation is a part of our commitment to fight poverty, promote sustainable social development and improve working and living conditions for all.


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Empowering Sex Workers to claim their rights to livelihood, citizenship and agency

duration: 2 years 1 month 29 days (From 1 May 2017 to 28 June 2019)
budget: not communicated

The idea for the project originated in a review and reflection workshop held late 2017 which was attended by staff and members (sex workers - SWs) of CWDA, CPU and by participants of partner agencies. The proposed work concerns the most marginalised section of the community, the SWs. Their rights, concerns, and means of livelihood are not recognised, respected or fulfilled. The project is essential to ensure their wellbeing and dignity so that they will have the opportunity and enjoy the acceptance in order to operate in a safer environment for their livelihood and that of their families. Since working with them is challenging, this group of women is not included in the list of priorities of many development agencies or governments.

At the workshop as well as a few more follow-up meetings, CPU members and staff strongly demanded for protection of their identity and dignity, increasing membership for greater solidarity and support, and functional education for themselves and their children in a safe environment.

To enable and support SWs so that by December 2018, 200 of them will obtain ID cards and use them for voting and for accessing social services;
To impart functional literacy, numeracy and life skills to 50 SWs by April 2019, so that they are able to enhance their earnings for a secured livelihood;
To train a total of 200 SWs by March 2019 so they practice safe sex, and protect themselves by negotiating effectively with their clients as well as law enforcement agents;
To form an independent advisory board for the Cambodia Prostitute Union, by December 2018, that will govern the agency following its own new constitution and by-laws.

Type of activities
Develop a CPU constitution and form an advisory board for accountable governance; Organise training for SWs for their health and safety, safe sex practices, and protection from violence against them (Prakas 194); Run a non-formal education programme for illiterate sex workers by using a participatory method called "reflect"; Prepare support papers and assist sex workers to get their ID cards