Who We Are
Sex workers in Malaysia face many issues in their daily life, including discrimination and violence, and a lack of access to proper healthcare and support. At PT Foundation, we understand that sex workers need to access updated and pertinent information regarding HIV/AIDs in a space where they feel safe and not judged, whilst at the same time being able to share their concerns with each other and trained staff regarding issues affecting them. Since sex workers are not acknowledged as employed individuals, surviving under the poverty line, while often providing for their families, PT Foundation strives to support our clients through all of these challenges.
Established in 1992, PT Foundation’s Sex Workers Programme provides a safe space for sex workers to address their concerns they are faced with here in Malaysia. Our Drop-In center provides a variety of sessions and support groups, aimed at empowering sex workers and building their self-confidence to overcome years of judgment and discrimination against them. The programs are designed to educate sex workers on basic human rights, rights as a sex worker, and to equip community members with the knowledge to protect themselves against HIV and other STIs, to reduce the transmission of these infections.
The Drop-in Center sees an average of 25-30 people per day, and over 500 registered clients per year. In addition, PT Foundation Sex Worker programme reaches out to around 2,000 clients per month in the Klang Valley area, through outreach and other programs. 95% of our clients survive below the poverty line, thus it is part of our duty to ensure that they have some basic food on the table for their families.
In July 2014, the Sex Workers programme was successfully registered as Pertubuhan SEED and began operating independently from PT Foundation. PT Foundation is proud to have pioneered and developed this programme to where it is today. PT Foundation will continue to serve the sex workers’ community through the ISEAN-Hivos programme and the Community Health Care Centre.
What We Want To Achieve
- Provide access to Sex Workers the accurate and comprehensive information on HIV prevention, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), reproductive health and safer sex awareness
- Provide basic health care needs, information session, social and emotional support and referralsespecially for sex workers who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS
- Constitute a change in attitude and behavior towards HIV/AIDS among the Sex Worker
- Empowerment for the community
- To provide full support to those who wish to leave Sex Work
- To provide a safe drop in centre for temporary shelter
- To provide up to date information on healthcare, medicine and related issues
- To educate the community on their basic human rights and their rights as a sex worker
- To reduce stigma and discrimination against sex workers by creating awareness and understaning to our stakeholders, the public, and the media
How we help the Sex Worker Community
PT in the sex worker community
Peer outreach is an extremely important component of the Sex Workers (SW) Programme, as we can only curb the spread of HIV/AIDs by mobilising outreach teams to reach out to the communities that are most at risk of HIV. PT Foundation’s outreach team distribute IEC materials, condoms and lubricants at areas in a number of locations in Klang Valley area. The outreach program is designed to target the high risk communities, therefore outreach workers frequent areas such as brothels, clubs, streets, Karaoke venues, and rest houses. These communities are often marginalised, living on the brink of poverty and are not properly equipped with knowledge regarding safer sex practices to protect themselves against the threat of HIV/AIDs. In the whole of 2009, SW outreach workers reached out to 28,155 clients and distributed 90,508 numbers of condoms and 31,556 numbers of lubricants. These condoms were disseminated mostly during outreach on the streets.
Together with teams from other programs, the outreach team also disseminates vital information regarding HIV/AIDs prevention and care to hospitals. Client relationship building is a key aspect; therefore outreach workers regularly visit hospitals, homes, and ex-sex workers to give support. Sex Worker Programme is frequently called upon to act as family to a sex worker at the time of death, where outreach workers will arrange burial and funeral services.
At PT Foundation client confidentiality is highly respected. The outreach workers maintain close relationship with their clients as to ensure the trust and confidentiality of the client. We also hold regular meetings, sharing sessions, counseling, and phone calls to build trust and maintain a close relationship with people impacted by HIV/AIDs.
Sex worker community comes to PT
Through our outreach we make contact with thousands of community members and inform them about PT Foundation and our various services and programs we have to offer, with the hope that they will utilize our offerings. Our Drop- In Center is a safe space where clients can come to rest and be in the company of other community members. We strive to support street based sex workers by providing a day time venue where people can come and rest and also to receive a hot nourishing meal and 2 snacks, to shower, wash their clothes, in addition to receiving basic healthcare and support for HIV treatment.
Clients also have full access to our resource center. We offer information for general HIV/AIDS information. We serve clients by offering referrals for the following: hospitals, legal aid services, job placement, identification documentation, and welfare assistance, which takes place every Thursday in the drop-in center. Another unique aspect of our resource center is the life skills building sessions, where we teach skills such as sewing, hand stitching, and jewelry making.
Social support groups are an essential part of the Sex Worker program. Clients come from all different walks of life, therefore we need to cater to each of their individual needs. We understand that each individual has different concerns and that it is our responsibility to ensure that the issues at hand are being addressed correctly and effectively to avoid stigma and discriminations. We strive to create an opportunity for the community to be more visible and empower them in handling their issues. We offer religious sessions, team building and peer education sessions, and empowerment programs.
Our Sex Worker clients have many questions and concerns they need to address. PT Foundation is here to support and advise on these important topics. Our various counseling lines provide many different opportunities for clients to discuss their concerns with trained professionals. The Sex Worker program offers both group and face-to-face counseling, in addition to telephone counseling. We strive to cater to each individual’s needs and preferences of dealing with the issues at hand.
All of our voluntary counselors have completed a training course which prepares them to be able to properly deal with the questions and concerns of the community. We offer our free and anonymous HIV testing in ourVoluntary Counseling Testing (VCT) service, which operates at the headquarters. For more information on testing times, click here.
For more information on our sex workers programme please call our center at (03) 2697-0633.
PT Foundation supports the Sex Worker community by fighting against injustice and discrimination based on sexuality. We will look to support individual causes by working with legal aid centers and other human rights organizations. If you are or have in the past suffered from some kind of discrimination, please contact us at (03) 4044-4611.