PITCH Sex Work Ukraine Legalife

PITCH Sex Work Ukraine Legalife


Legalife Ukraine, a sex worker-led organisation, aims to reduce (self-)stigma regarding sex work through providing online information on human rights, HIV and STI and legal provisions concerning sex work. Aiming to decriminalise sex work, Legalife promotes public debate on sex work and sex workers' rights through campaigns and visual exhibitions on the lives of sex workers. Legalife engages and mobilizes sex worker communities in Ukraine and abroad through active networking and exchange, for example during the 'Summer School' for members of the National Key Populations Platform (including people who use drugs, LGBT people, sex workers, former prisoners). The Summer School develops and strengthens the partnership between different communities through exchange and training.

Project details

Time frame
01 October 2016 - 31 December 2020
€ 191,786
Active in
Russia, Ukraine


Partners under PITCH aim to beat the AIDS epidemic in countries that are most affected by HIV. If sex workers have equal access to HIV-related and sexual and reproductive services, if equal and full rights for sex workers are realised and if a strong civil society exists then sex workers will be able to work under safe conditions. Specific outcomes of Legalife include empowerment of sex workers countrywide and increased public debate about sex work and participation of sex workers in national platforms.

Community groups

Legalife Ukraine works in 8 regions including Kiev, Odessa, Krivoy Rog, Vinnitsa, Herson, Mykolayiv, Zhytomyr and Kirovograd. Their Facebook page reaches 2000 people and 150 people are involved in the development of a documentary, short videos and photo exhibition on the lives of sex workers, reaching a wider public. 30 community led organisations are involved in the learning and exchange programme of the Summer School organised for the National Key Populations Platform.


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.


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
Everyone living with HIV worldwide receives treatment
Contributed within this project

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