Train the Trainers: Sexual Health for Sex Workers

14 September 2017

Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association, with the financial and technical support provided by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Turkey office, organized a training sessions for the trainers on sexual health between September 11-15, 2017 for 25 sex workers coming from 12 various provinces in Turkey. The aim of the training is to educate transwomen regarding their sexual and reproductive health and encourage them to pass on what they learn from these training sessions to the other sex workers in their respective cities. 

One of the trainers was Dr. Gökhan Yıldırımkaya, UNFPA Reproductive Health Program Coordinator, who said about the training “Within the scope of 6th Country Programme of UNFPA, and Sustainable Development Goals of UN, we aim to empower people and enable them to access health services. Based on our priorities, one of our area of work is to empower these key and vulnerable groups who have difficulty accessing the much needed health information and services. The main aim here is to improve these vulnerable groups’ access to health information and services so that their full access to these services also helps to improve individuals’ and societies’ overall health and health indicators. In that sense, one of our target groups for us to work with is sex workers.” 

When asked about the importance of these training sessions, Dr. Yıldırımkaya added “By training these sex workers, our expectation is to see that they pass on the information to their peers, and to the individuals they serve and adopt safer behaviours. To increase the access rate to the health information and services, we organized trainings like these so that sex workers drop risky activities, as a result they can lower the risk of infecting themselves with sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, hepatitis B.” 

Kelam Ördek, General Coordinator of Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association said that “Sex workers are seen as marginalised groups at the health information and services access points. We need to empower this group of people so that they can access to health services by that way, tailored information in line with the sensitivities of these individuals can be transferred. We also expect that the information that we are providing here will be cascaded down to their peers in their own cities. That is exactly what Red Umbrella has been aiming to accomplish with these trainings; to empower sex workers by educating them.” 

United Nations Population Fund is delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential fulfilled. To accomplish that goal, UNFPA specifically focuses on four Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being; SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality and finally SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals. To learn more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, please click here.