Caribbean Sex Workers Trained in Advocacy for Health Care Rights

Thirty (30) sex workers from six Caribbean countries are now equipped to better advocate for their right to appropriate health care and to help their peers to do the same.
The Guyana Sex Work Coalition in association with the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition and supported by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects joined forces to train the participants who are members of the Caribbean Sex Work Coalition.
The thirty participants came from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic,  Antigua and Suriname.
The three day training, held in Suriname from July 15-17, was based on a new manual which will serve as a tool for sex workers to strengthen their confidence when seeking health care services, giving them the knowledge and skills to ensure proper care and treatment for themselves. Based on  two WHO publications – the “2014 WHO Consolidated Guidelines for Working with Key Populations” and, “Implementing Comprehensive HIV/STI Programmes with Sex Workers”; the manual enables sex workers to gain an understanding of their right to health care and the basic package of services that they should advocate for from health care providers.
With confidence and knowledge boosted by the training, Quincy McEwan of the Guyana Trans United said of health care workers that “sometimes they just need you to talk to them so they can understand your needs and concerns. You can change their attitude just by talking”.
Many sex workers avoid visiting clinics and primary health services because of the stigma and discrimination they face, and the resulting fear of having to disclose their status as a sex worker.
The manual represents another important tool to strengthen the Caribbean regional response to combatting HIV and AIDS. It was commissioned by the Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC) and the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC). Along with the training, the manual is a key activity of the CVC-COIN Vulnerabilised Groups Project under the CARICOM-PANCAP Global Fund, Round 9, Regional programme.

Executive Director of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership
Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Coordinating Unit, Mr. Dereck Springer

The Executive Director of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Coordinating Unit, Mr. Dereck Springer, Mr. Marvin Gunter of the UNFPA and representatives of the Suriname Ministry of Health and Country Coordinating Mechanism were among officials who brought remarks in support of the manual’s development and participated in parts of the training.


Miriam Edwards; Executive Director, Guyana Sex Work Coalition & Co-Chair, Caribbean Sex Work Coalition, +592 6954732;
Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC); or
Tel: 876 631-7299 or 876 631-7219

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