Create resources and support for sex workers

Pillar: Respond
Goal: Reduce by 75% the number of all new HIV diagnoses in 5 years
Strategy: Create resources and support for sex workers.
Target: Sex workers

Key Activities:

High Priority and Disruptively Innovative

  1. Decriminalize sex work by abolishing the practice of police using the possession of a large number of condoms as evidence that one is engaging in sex work.
  2. Implement policy so that sex workers who are HIV(+) are not added to the sex offender registry. Also, remove sex workers from the registry who were listed because of HIV status.
  3. Establish a phone line—free from judgment—for sex workers to use as a resource to obtain proper tools to maintain their health.
  4. Provide free PCR and RNA tests for sex workers to identify infection earlier than possible via traditional testing.
  5. Provide education to law enforcement on sex workers vs. sex traffic victims.
  6. Provide cultural competency training for law enforcement.
  7. Provide wrap-around services (housing, etc.) for those who choose sex work because of financial need.
  8. Partner with walk-in clinics to provide health screenings and other needed medical services.
  9. Hold focus group with sex workers on their needs to stay safe on the street.
  10. Obtain input from experienced sex workers to gain their advice on best practices to stay safe.
  11. Create manual for sex workers on how to remain medically safe. Make sure that such a guide is consistent with “FOSTA-SESTA” (“Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” and “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act”) laws.

Key Partners

PEAS, Planned Parenthood, Red Umbrella Project, SWOP-USA, The Corner, The Sex Workers Project at Urban Justice Center, Thistle and Bee

Potential Funding Sources

  • EHE
  • YWCA
  • Housing Authorities
  • Shelby County Health Department

Estimated Funding Allocation

  • Program Developer-$60,000
  • Program Coordinator: $40,000
  • Supplies/Resources/Training Material-$20,000
    Total: $120,000


(Reported annually, locally monitored more frequently)

  • # of laws modified around HIV criminalization
  • # of Sex workers using support services
  • # of support services offered for sex workers
  • # of health screenings for identified sex workers
  • Develop monitoring source for program
    participation (Survey, database, etc.)

Monitoring Data Source

  • Shelby County Health Department Jail/ Incarceration surveillance