Below is a brief description of our new initiatives. Each of these will have a profound impact on mothers who are trafficked or in sex work and their children. But we need your support to move these projects forward. Please contact Brian for more information about each of these initiatives and how you can help support them.
Kampala childcare center for children of sex workers
Childcare center for children of female sex workers (FSW) in Kampala, Uganda. Many mothers in Kampala are very poor and must support their children through selling sex. You can hear the stories of two of these mothers on our video tab. These mothers do not have families to watch their children at night and cannot pay for childcare so the mothers must leave their children alone in their rooms or take the children with them to the streets. Neither situation is safe for the children. So we are working with our local partner, Rhythm of Life (ROL) to open the first-ever childcare center just for children whose mothers are in sex work. We will be open overnight to provide the children with nutritious meals. A nurse will come every day to check on the children as some are malnourished and other need medicine for acute and chronic illnesses. We will also be open in the morning so that the older children who go to school can receive a nutritious breakfast and we will also welcome them back after school if they need assistance with their school work. During the day we will also provide the mothers with job training for those who want alternative sources of income. This childcare center will be a model that we will replicate in other cities and countries through sub-Sahara Africa.
Maternal and child health brochures for mothers in sex work and their children
There are millions of very poor women throughout the world who support their children through selling sex. The vast majority of these women will become pregnant yet few have access to basic information about prenatal care, safe delivery, postpartum care, and postpartum depression. While there are many materials to educate women in sex work about HIV there are there none specifically to provide them with critical information while they are pregnant. From our research, we know pregnant sex workers die. This is unacceptable. Pregnant sex workers experience barriers to prenatal care other women do not. For example, sometimes the madams in brothels will not let them get the care they need, or they do not know they need prenatal vitamins. It is a similar situation with their children: many of the new mothers do not know how to care for their newborns and older children. Since it is not possible for us to personally reach all the pregnant sex workers or those who are mothers, we are developing the first-ever educational materials specifically for sex workers and their children.
The maternal and child health of FSW and their children in Ghana
Our partner in Ghana has requested assistance to conduct the first-ever study of the maternal health of female sex workers (FSW) and their children. We know from our groundbreaking study from Cambodia, many FSW die during pregnancy and childbirth. However, there are over 50,000 FSW in Ghana but no statistics on what happens to them when they become pregnant or give birth. Likewise, in Cambodia, we learned the causes of death among children of FSW. With similar information in Ghana, we can prevent maternal deaths among FSW and deaths of their children.
Health care workers in the U.S. training video
Studies in the U.S. have documented that many victims of sex trafficking seek medical care in ERs and medical clinics but that most health care workers do not know how to identify victims of sex trafficking or how to quickly establish a rapport with them. In 2016 we partnered with two other organizations to produce a video in which the experts on identifying victims and building rapport with them, the survivors themselves, provided powerful guidance to health care workers on these issues. Although this video has been used in many trainings it has a number of significant limitations, including that the survivors did not want it posted on the internet so it can only be used during live trainings. Also, the first video had limited geographic participation from survivors and did not include any male survivors. To address these limitations we are partnering with HEAL, a nonprofit of health professionals who care for victims of sex trafficking, ECPAT-USA, a leader in the anti-trafficking efforts, and survivors throughout the U.S., to create a new training video for healthcare workers. This video is critical to help protect sex trafficking victims.