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Decriminalization of sex work in Ukraine is already at the stage of developing regulatory documents

On July 8, 2019, in the office of the Ombudsman of Ukraine, first meeting of the interdepartmental working group was held. This working group was officially established in December 2018 at a meeting of the National Council on the Prevention of the Spread of HIV / AIDS and TB in Ukraine.

The decision to create this group was made on December 13, 2018 at a meeting of the National Council on the filing from representatives of the sex workers community Natalia Isaeva and Petro Polyantsev.


Newly maid working group included representatives of government parties, human rights and charitable organizations, namely: representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office, the Ministries of Justice and Health, the National Police, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, ICF All-Union Public Health, CO 100% of Life, MF Vidrodzhennya, Amnesty International in Ukraine, CO” Legalife-Ukraine “.

Such a broad association of human rights defenders, activists and officials will primarily address the issues of violence and violation of the rights of sex workers, as well as restrictions in access to medical services. The group discussed the possibilities for decriminalizing sex work in Ukraine, and solving a set of problems in various areas to eliminate stigma and discrimination against people. The group members are now facing a difficult challenge: to develop a draft of legislation on sex work that will protect the rights of sex workers and, in the same time, will be supported by the majority of Ukrainians.

“The group is united by the value of human rights. We, as representatives of the sex workers community, hope to develop an effective law. This law must protect sex workers and extend existing social guarantees to them, as well as launch programs that will help to leave this work to those who need it, says Natalya Isayeva, director of the CO “Legalife-Ukraine”.

Is Ukrainian society ready for such a step? Natalya Isaeva, relying on the results of sociological research, claims that Ukrainians take a positive view of decriminalization and are ready for it under certain conditions.

She presented the results of a study on attitudes, advantages, opportunities and barriers to the decriminalization of sex work in Ukraine, which was conducted by CO “Legalife-Ukraine” in conjunction with Socioconsulting AC in 2018-2019. Analysis of the data confirms that the value of people’s lives, their safety and security is a top priority for society and the state. And the majority of Ukrainian citizens are ready to positively perceive decriminalization of sex work under certain conditions. Therefore, the main and general task of the group members is to search for such opportunities and develop proposals to reform of legislation on sex work in Ukraine, which will provide protection to sex workers and will be supported by the community.

Source and photos: CO “Legalife-Ukraine”

UHHRU supports advocacy activities in the field of decriminalization of sex work in Ukraine within implementation of the project “Development of the legal network for protection of the people living with HIV/AIDS, representatives of key PLHIV communities and persons ill with TB” with the financial support of the Charitable organization “All-Ukrainian Network of the People Living with HIV/AIDS” in the framework of implementation of the project “Releasing the Burden of TB and HIV infection through creation of the open access to timely and quality diagnostics and treatment of the TB and its resistant forms, expanding evidence based prevention, diagnostic and treatment of HIV infection, and creation of stable and sustainable health protection systems”, which is implemented with the financial support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

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