TAMPEP / Information, Counseling and Health Prevention for Migrant Women in Sex Work


Kettenbrückengasse 15/4

1050 Vienna Austria

Telephone: +43.1.581 18 81

Fax: +43.1.581 18 81-14

E-Mail: tampep@lefoe.at


Person to contact

Maria Hörtner


To schedule an appointment

Mon, Wed, Fri: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Tue: 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Counseling hours

Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

By appointment

Target group

Migrant women currently working in sex work or who are former sex workers


Bulgarian, English, Chinese, German, French, Romanian, Spanish.

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.


Sex work

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

Legal Information

Sex work is organized in Austria as part of a regulatory regime. A complex system of federal and state laws regulating the prohibitions and rules along which sex work can be exercised. Since the criminal law reform in 1974 sex work is not criminalized in principle, but 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. For sex workers is an official registration, the commitment to regularly - usually public health officer - health checks, and tax liability. Simulteanously sex is considered immoral. This institutionalized a double standard that accepts sex work as an industry, but the actors - the sex workers - are criminalized and made illegal.


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.

SEX WORK in EUROPE offers a comprehensive overview of the sex work scene in 25 European countries.

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

Since 2002, every year on the 2nd of June public actions and interventions take place for International Sex Workers’ Day. This was also on 2 June 2010.

Trafficking in Women expertise 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.