Bridging the Gaps Sex Work Ukraine Legalife

Bridging the Gaps Sex Work Ukraine Legalife


Legalife continues to strengthen the sex worker movement across Ukraine through establishing eight new sex workers groups. Legalife trains sex work leaders in management, documentation of human rights violations and public speaking. Legalife Ukraine advocates and influences service provision for sex work communities through collaboration and peer learning with non-governmental organisations, the national network, and the country coordinating mechanism. The organisation strongly promotes decriminalisation of sex work and reduction of stigma and discrimination in society. Regular publications, social media, photo and documentary illustrations about the lives of sex workers are used for this. Through research, Legalife collects data and evidence about the relation between violence, HIV and sex workers.

Project details

Time frame
01 July 2016 - 31 December 2020
€ 204,033
Active in
Russia, Ukraine


Partners under the Bridging the Gaps programme aim to end AIDS among key populations. If civil society is strengthened, if fulfilment of human rights for key populations is increased and if sexual and reproductive health is improved and HIV transmission reduced, governments will be hold to account and AIDS among key populations can end. Specific outcomes of Legalife Ukraine include empowered sex workers countrywide and a strong public debate about sex work and participation of sex workers in national platforms.

Community groups

Legalife established new branches in 8 regions of Ukraine including Kiev, Odessa, Krivoy Rog, Vinnitsa, Herson, Mykolayiv, Zhytomyr, Kirovograd, reaching at least 250 sex workers. 14 sex workers will be trained on leadership and management. 50 sex workers will be trained on human rights violations documentation. 20 sex workers will be involved in exchange learning visits and 2000 sex workers are reached through social media with information on sex workers’ rights.


Sex workers in Ukraine face discrimination by health staff and are excluded from HIV services. Stigma by Ukraine's society leads to self-stigma among sex workers. Clients offer money for violent sex and sex without condom, increasing the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV. The government shows little political will to integrate services for sex workers into national social care systems.

220.000 people live with HIV in Ukraine. Data from 2014 shows an HIV prevalence among clients of sex workers of 7.4%. Among the estimated 80.000 sex workers HIV prevalence is 7%. Of men who have sex with men, 16 percent is estimated to be selling sex. Sex workers have no access to justice; hence violence against sex workers remains invisible and undocumented. The recent war situation has blurred updated estimates of HIV and sex workers in Ukraine.


Everyone living with HIV worldwide receives treatment
Contributed within this project
Awareness, support in society, and full funding of the AIDS and STI response
Contributed within this project
< 200,000 new HIV infections globally
Contributed within this project

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