TAMPEP is an example of how NGOs can provide health and other human services to migrant sex workers. TAMPEP’s tactics enable them to identify and assist victims of trafficking.
The sex workers in Italy are almost exclusively immigrant women. TAMPEP directly reaches out to them wherever they can be found working, and even living: street, apartment, brothel, shelter…etc. TAMPEP visits them during the day and returns to the streets at night. On these visits, TAMPEP offers information on health, safety, and other available services. TAMPEP assures the women that the services are free and do not require proof of citizenship or legal status.
TAMPEP will initiate discussions to assess individual needs. This outreach is conducted by TAMPEP cultural mediators, peer educators, organizers and social workers. Usually, 2-4 workers go out at a time. In addition to offering material and conversational information, workers invite the women to visit the TAMPEP office any M-F from 10am-2pm. They do come and I’ve seen women in the office every day I’ve been here.
In the office TAMPEP makes information easily available. Staff conducts assessments, makes appointments and provides escort to health clinics. In the case that the woman does not have legal status in Italy then TAMPEP arranges for the obtainment of necessary documentation (STP) in order for the women to access health care services: clinic and hospital visitation, consultation and check-ups, tests, necessary procedures and medication.
NGOs are not law enforcement, but service providers. Therefore, they can reach out to migrant sex workers without posing an immediate threat. TAMPEP calls advertised establishments, and contacts apartments and brothels to offer an at-home visit from a health clinician, or individual appointments to visit public health centers.
TAMPEP provides information on how to stay protected against violence, disease and pregnancy. If a woman wants to exit sex work and exploitative situations the option is provided. The woman can agree to denounce her offenders–pimps, madams or traffickers–and can begin receiving shelter, language and vocational training, and advanced therapy (social and reintegration program).
Contact with skilled service providers can be a nurturing component in the woman’s life, which will often drawn her out of despair. This will guide her toward discovering opportunities through confronting problematic situations.
This is worthy of serious consideration. How does policy incorporate human services in the United States? Does the US appear to favor criminal justice and private health care institutions over human rights and wellbeing?
From what I’ve seen at work in Europe, human services is integral to law enforcement and legal provisions, particularly in the cases of immigration, prostitution and trafficking. The reintegration program (Article 18 of immigration law) is a product of the cooperative relationship shared by human services and law enforcement agencies. This relationship has not been realized in the United States, which inhibits the adoption of best practices by both legal and human service institutions.
Posted By Anya Gorovets (Italy)
Posted Oct 4th, 2006