Interventions for migrant sex workers need to recognise and be informed by the cultural and social values of the migrant sex workers, which require different approaches if the intervention is to be successful.TAMPEP's main objective is to develop and implement effective and realistic HIV/STI intervention programmes for migrant sex workers. TAMPEP members seek to achieve this through the following direct interventions:
Outreach & Street Work
Outreach and street work are the most effective strategies for establishing and maintaining contact with sex workers. Such interventions need to be systematic, frequent and intensive in order to build a relationship of trust with sex workers. Interventions should not be limited to handing out condoms, lubricants or information promoting safe sex practices but involves establishing personal contact with sex workers providing guidance and support in social, legal and psychological issues.
Cultural Mediators & Peer Educators
The involvement of cultural mediators from the same ethnic/cultural group or nationality as the migrant sex workers provides interpretation of non-verbal codes as well as verbal communication and intercultural bridges contributing to the decoding of cultural codes in order to facilitate understanding of health and social issues.
In contrast to cultural mediators, peer educators as members of the migrant sex worker community have individual experiences and backgrounds that reflect those of the broader community of migrant sex workers.
Their involvement provides not only interpretation and an intercultural bridge but provides a role model for other migrant sex workers, increasing self-esteem and self-confidence amongst migrant sex workers.
Their base within the community enables them to articulate the interests of migrant sex workers to service providers and policymakers, to raise awareness among their colleagues, to organise and conduct workshops on various themes related to health promotion and safer sex practices and to empower their peers through solidarity, support and mutual understanding.
TAMPEP's educational materials are intended for use as part of an integrated multi-disciplinary approach as outlined in the TAMPEP documents.
The TAMPEP educational materials should be used as a tool to engage with migrant sex workers and open up dialogue. The simple distribution of leaflets is not enough, the materials themselves will raise issues for sex workers and there will be a need to clarify their questions and to explain difficult matters. The ability to communicate is fundamental - otherwise, how can we accomplish our task of empowering through transmitting information and ideas if we cannot talk with migrant sex workers.
It is therefore crucial when working with migrant sex workers, to integrate - whenever and wherever possible - cultural mediators and peer educators to interpret language and cultural and social values and codes. We have to be aware of and careful not abuse the power we hold.
The following document gives background information on the philosophy and methodology of the TAMPEP network.