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Sex Workers Health Group
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  • Sex Workers Health Group

    Spires Streetlink was the 2013 winner of the prestigious Andy Ludlow Homelessness Awards. The project we would like to fund will be an off-shoot of our Streetlink program. Research in low-income countries showed that participatory learning and action (PLA) through women’s groups can reduce newborn and maternal mortality by up to 33% and 55% respectively without upgrading of health facilities. The idea for the project is to test to see if participating in learning and action groups (PLAs) of Female Street-Based Sex Workers (FSBSW) can improve self-worth and health. Our clients have multiple and complex issues that we address ranging from homelessness, insecure accommodation, unemployment, problems with physical or mental health, addiction and substance misuse, domestic abuse or those imprisoned in a cycle of sex work and entrenched drug use.  

    Over 150 female street-based sex workers (FSBSW) work on Brixton Hill, Lambeth. 98% of them have substance misuse problems and 87% have dual diagnosis. Many spend £150/day on drugs. Prices for sex (£20 for full sex without a condom) and uptake of Sexual/Reproductive Health, HIV & addiction services are low.

    We will enroll 25 to 50 FSBSWs in PLAs to discuss their health, security and social problems and to find their own solutions. Sessions will be facilitated by an experienced Spires support worker. They will be paid £10 for attendance at an hour discussion group, in cash or in a voucher, to participate. Key outcomes will be: 1) Increased self-worth (measured by using a shortened version of the “Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale” or something similar); 2) Uptake of and adherence to D&A treatments; and 3) Uptake of other health services like receiving the implant to prevent unwanted pregnancies. This kind of program is often overlooked for other funding, and yet it can have a beneficial, social impact on the community, and that are backed up by evidence-based research.

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