NATION

Sex Work And Putting Food On The Table

Started in 2014, Strumphet helps sex workers. The profession is frowned upon by many and falls on the other side of the law, but the industry exists nonetheless.
07 Jun 2020 15:11
Sex Work And Putting Food On The Table

Most sex workers are out on the streets because of their need to put food on the table and a civil society body has been helping 25 members between Suva and Nausori.

Started in 2014, Strumphet helps sex workers. The profession is frowned upon by many and falls on the other side of the law, but the industry exists nonetheless.

Strumphet coordinator Sophie Radrodro said the organisation has been engaged in helping their members as the economic impact of COVID-19 has not spared them as well.

Ms Radrodro said the COVID-19 restrictions had impacted their members.

“None of our members have been arrested for breaching the COVID-19 directives but in saying this, I have to point out that our members are unable to provide for their families,” she said.

“The reasons why they end up as sex workers are many but the main thing for them is most of them are trying to put food on the table.”

Through donations and funding, Strumphet has been able to provide food packages for its members. Most of them are struggling to provide for their families.

“Through our work with the District Councils of Social Services we were able to refer 20 sex workers from the western division to the Lautoka DCOSS,” Ms Radrodro said.

She said the food packs were basic food items.

Ms Radrodro said their members were marginalised and had their own reasons to do what they were doing.

Strumphet was also lobbying for changes in legislation which would allow its members to be recognised as a form of employment.

The organisation’s engagement with the Nasinu District Council of Social Services allowed them to distribute cooked food around Suva for 30 days on a daily basis.

In the past few months, the organization has been working with Youth Champs for Mental Health, The Mama Ashy Project, the Nausori DCOSS and the Fiji Council of Social Services.

Ms Radrodro said for the organisation the safety and protection of the members was vital. Strumphet’s work was focused on attaining this for its members.

Apart from their normal work for its members, COVID-19 has meant focusing on additional issues as well.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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