As the Greek Association of People Living with HIV – Positive Voice, we are pleased to announce the opening of “Red Umbrella Thessaloniki”, the Empowerment Center for Sex Workers in Thessaloniki.
Sex workers are one of the most marginalized and invisible social groups. Indicatively, the current legislation on sex work in Greece renders legal sex work practically impossible and leaves the vast majority of sex workers outside the protection framework, making it difficult for them to access free health care and excluding them from the right to retirement, among other things. In its current form, the legal, political and social framework makes the sex worker group extremely vulnerable. At Positive Voice – Greek Association of People Living with HIV, we know very well that this social vulnerability also implies vulnerability to HIV, creating a vicious cycle of stigmatisation and marginalisation.
For this reason, supporting and empowering people who work in the sex industry has been and still is our priority. The recognition of these needs led in 2015 to the creation of the first Empowerment Centre for Sex Workers in Greece, Red Umbrella Athens, which has since then received more than 5,500 visits. As part of the “DANA: empowering sex workers” project, we are now able to expand our empowerment services for sex workers in Northern Greece with the operation of the Red Umbrella Thessaloniki.
Services are offered free of charge and include: legal support, psychosocial support, HIV, Hepatitis B and C testing, linkage with other services, sexual health counselling, addiction and harm reduction counselling, safer use materials, provision of clothing, condoms, lubricants or other items, aesthetic services and artistic/recreational activities. In addition, street-work teams will provide screening, empowerment and linkage services twice a week with field activities.
Our aim is to support and empower the sex worker community itself to actively engage in decision-making processes and enable them to claim their rights.
Red Umbrella Thessaloniki will be located at 112 Egnatia Odos (3rd floor) and will be open every Monday from 16.00 to 20.00 starting on Monday 4 July. Contact us by phone at 2310282284.
In Athens, Thessaloniki and everywhere, it is our standing that there are no rights for women, LGBTQ+ people, or workers without the full guarantee of the rights of sex workers!