TAMPEP / Information, Counseling and Health Prevention for Migrant Women in Sex Work
1050 Vienna Austria
Telephone: +43.1.581 18 81
Fax: +43.1.581 18 81-14
To schedule an appointment
Mon, Wed, Fri: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Tue, Thu: 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 12:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Migrant women currently or formerly working in sex work
Transgender currently or formerly working in sex work
Women who wish to engage in sex work in Vienna
Counseling and support are available in other languages upon request.
Since the early 1990s LEFÖ has offered counseling and support for migrant women in sex work in Austria and actively been lobbying for the legal and social recognition of sex workers. This can only be achieved through decriminalizing sex workers, through including sex workers in the public discourse on sex work and through recognizing sex work as a form of gainful employment under the labor legislation. Since 1995, LEFÖ has been part of the European research and support network TAMPEP (European Network for HIV/STI Prevention and Health Promotion among Migrant Sex Workers, www.tampep.eu) and in cooperation with a number of other organizations, LEFÖ has developed the concept of cultural mediation as a means of providing support and HIV/STI prevention for sex workers.
We use the term sex work to convey an affirmative and inclusive approach to the provision of sexual services (mostly by women, but also by transgender persons and men).
We use the term sex work to focus on the work this entails and to advocate for comprehensive labor and social rights for sex workers. We also use the term sex work to underscore the wide variety of different work settings and conditions in the sex industry.
Cultural Mediation in Health Prevention, Counseling and Support with and for Sex Workers
Cultural mediators are not translators. They are mediators who are familiar with the legal and social situation migrant women in sex work face both in the target countries and in their countries of origin.
LEFÖ offers holistic, client-based support with a keen awareness of social exclusion, marginalization and social discrimination while simultaneously encouraging self-supporting activities that promote community development.
LEFÖ offers the following for migrant women in sex work
- Cultural mediation: street work
We come to the places where the women work and offer information, counseling and support with a particular focus on health prevention.
- Cultural mediation: counseling and support (with a focus on health prevention)
We offer holistic, first-language counseling and support.
- Cultural mediation: workshops for peer educators
We offer workshops for small groups on a number of topics, including health, legislation and social issues to encourage information and knowledge transfer to offer a place for communication and support.
For many years now, the staff at LEFÖ has shared their expert knowledge on sex work on national and European levels. For this reason, LEFÖ has emerged as a national information point with a transnational network and become a center that combines information, research and practical support based on cultural mediation.
LEFÖ launched national campaigns in 2007 and 2008 to raise media and public awareness about the lack of rights for sex workers. The campaign took place under the motto “Sex workers lust… for their rights!” A number of organizations and individuals contributed to the conceptualization and organization of different activities including information events, panel discussions, film presentations, art interventions etc. For more detailed information on these campaigns, visit the link: www.lustaufrechte.at
In Austria, sex work is organized as part of a regulatory regime. A complex system of federal and state laws regulates the prohibitions and rules defining the framework within which sex work can be practiced. Since the criminal law reform in 1974, sex work is in principal no longer criminalized, but remains subject to many controlling measures. This includes not only the prostitution laws in individual states, but also the alien law, criminal law, tax law and legal regulations on health.
Sex workers are obliged to officially register, commit to regular - usually public health officer led - health checks, and are liable for taxation. Simultaneously, they are lacking the corresponding labor and social rights. Furthermore, sex is considered immoral. This institutionalizes a double standard that accepts sex work as an industry, but criminalizes and illegalizes the actors, the sex workers.
For the first time since 1989, the general unconscionability of contracts between sex workers and customers was abolished by the verdict of the supreme court on the 18th of April 2012. Consequentially, sex workers are since then able to legally enforce their wage claims. However, this fundamental decision has so far remained without political consequences. In November 2011, the new prostitution law in Vienna took effect, causing dramatic changes for sex workers and the Vienna sex work scene. An essential goal of the law was to separate the sex work visible in public space from living areas. Accordingly, street prostitution was relocated to remote parts of the city, considerably complicating sex workers’ possibilities of finding good and secure working conditions.
Furthermore, a formalized permission procedure for owners of sex work places was introduced. Additionally, the possibility of punishment of suitors contacting sex workers outside the legal areas for street sex work or at illegally run businesses is part of the law.
The online directory services4sexworkers.eu offers an overview of respectful and non-discriminatory institutions active in the fields of health, legal and social services within a number of different European countries.
The book SEX WORK, MIGRATION and HEALTH provides information about sex workers’ access to health institutions in 25 European countries.
The book WORK SAFE IN SEX WORK is a collection of best practice examples based on 16 years of experience of working with and for sex workers.
The books and the overview on the sex work scene are available for download on www.tampep.eu.
CD-ROM 1 + CD-ROM 2: Information for sex workers in a number of languages.
Amnesty International: Sex Workers Rights are Human Rights
A crucial vote to protect the human rights of sex workers was passed in August 2015 in Dublin at Amnesty International’s decision-making forum, the International Council Meeting (ICM). Delegates from around the world authorized the International Board to develop and adopt a policy on the issue.
“Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. More Information about the ai-resolution
NSWP welcomes Amnesty International´s Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect, and Fulfill the Human Rights of Sex Workers: NSWP Statement (pdf, 102 KB)
La Strada International welcomes Anmesty International´s policy on sex workers rigths and decriminalisation of sex work: LSI Statement (pdf, 121 KB)
Events and projects
International Sex Workers’ Day, 2. June 2016: Sexwork in focus!
Together with representatives of the lust.werkstatt, Grüne Frauen Wien, Amnesty International / Network Women's rights, the counselling organization PiA / Information und Beratung für Sexarbeiterinnen (Salzburg), The KPÖ Women, the ÖH unit for feminist politics and homo*bi*trans*inter*queer* issues LEFÖ is drawing attention to sexworkers' lack of rights!
For the implementation of all rights and the Involvement of sexworkers in the decision processes!
Against discrimnation and social exclusion!
When: Thursday, 2. June 2016, 3pm-6pm
Where: Urban-Loritz-Platz (U6/Burggasse), Wien 8.
Live Acts: Helga Porpaczy / Clara Blume / DJ-Line Christina Nemec
With: Info-Café, Politischen Diskussionen, Flashmob und vielem mehr!
Expertise on trafficking in women for sex workers (Guaranteeing sustainability)
Following the results of the previous projects (for description see below), this focus will be continuously pursued to ensure the sustainability of the efforts.
Expertise on trafficking in women for sex workers (a pilot project)
Trafficking of women in prostitution is - like trafficking in women in other areas - characterized by a closed environment, establishes the isolation of these women and increases their vulnerability. Such environments, the life and work contexts of women affected by trafficking, are difficult to access by conventional support services and health and social services. At the same time, the fear of violence, repression and legal persecution, they - and also the potential supporters - do not dare to display the perpetrators. Women affected by trafficking are severely marginalized, excluded and stigmatized and difficult to open "outsiders" in order to protect themselves from further violence and exploitation. Potential supporters of victims of trafficking in prostitution are their colleagues in the sex industry, often migrant sex workers. Migrant sex workers have a profound knowledge of the organization of the prostitution scene, often supporting each other in legal, social and health issues and are regionally and transnationally mobile. Therefore, it is important to recognize and include them as experts and peer educators.
With this background LEFÖ conducted the pilot project "Trafficking in Women expertise for sex workers" in Vienna in the period of 6 months (June to November 2010). That means targeted outreach activities and information work through cultural mediators, both in indoor and outdoor places. With this targeted outreach activities sex workers are contacted as peer educators and informed and sensitized about trafficking in women. After getting in touch with sex workers information and awareness workshops are designed and carried out. The workshops and the sensitization about trafficking in women is a strenghening tool for empowerment and sustainable prevention.
The World AIDS Conference in Vienna
From 18 – 23 July 2010, the 18th International AIDS Conference took place in Vienna. Within this context, LEFÖ was actively campaigning for women and migrant women worldwide receive unrestricted access to HIV prevention, treatment and support. With its expected 25,000 participants and over 2,000 media representatives, the World AIDS Conference in Vienna offered a public forum for examining gaps locally and demanding the international community of states take responsibility globally.
Together with the organizations maiz (Linz), SXA-Info (Graz), PIA (Salzburg) and the platform sexworker.at a very attractive information booth (see photo) in the Global village was established to call everybodies attention to the situation of sex workers in Austria.