PITCH Sex Work Myanmar AMA
PITCH Sex Work Myanmar AMA
Sex workers in Myanmar face many challenges ranging from stigma and discrimination to violence and police arrests. For this reason, sex workers are hesitant to reach out to available services such as testing and treatment and to advocate for their rights. To address these challenges, Aidsfonds works with Ama Myanmar Association (AMA) on a range of objectives. AMA strengthens the sex worker movement in 5 regions across Myanmar, connects local and national sex work groups to regional and global bodies and increases the demand for and access to services by engaging and advocating with the National AIDS Programme (NAP) and sensitizing health care providers at NAP health clinics in 7 cities. Finally, AMA advocates for better laws and policies for sex workers.
Partners under PITCH aim to beat the AIDS epidemic in countries that are most affected by HIV. If sex workers have equal access to HIV-related and sexual and reproductive services, if equal and full rights for sex workers are realised and if a strong civil society exists then sex workers will be able to work under safe conditions. Specific outcomes of AMA's work include strengthening the sex worker movement, connecting local and national sex work groups to regional and global bodies, increasing the demand for and access to services, and advocating for better laws and policies for sex workers..
AMA currently has 1000+ members throughout Myanmar. Activities focus on strengthening sex worker-led community based organisations in five regions: Yangon Region, Mandalay Region, Bago Region Magwe Region and Kachin State. AMA also reaches NAP clinics in seven cities where 60 health care providers will be trained. 100 police officers will be trained on sex work legislation and human rights.
Sex work is criminalised in Myanmar under the prostitution act. Arbitrary and unjust arrests, detention and bribing by police are common experiences. Health services are available, but only in the bigger cities. This results in a lack of access to health services for sex workers based outside urban areas. The organisation and representation of sex workers is also primarily concentrated in the main cities.
Myanmar is experiencing a national concentrated HIV epidemic. HIV prevalence in the general population is 0.54% in populations’ aged 15 and above. The epidemic is rapidly increasing amongst female sex workers, with a reported HIV prevalence of 6.44% among female sex workers. There are huge regional diversions: prevalence amongst sex workers in Yangon is calculated at 25% and in Mandalay at 20%.