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Ukraine: British MP and a League “Legalife” representative

By Elena Tsukerman,

Head of the charity organization "All-Ukrainian League Legalife"

While the officials from the Ministry of Interior and Ukrainian politicians state that they are not ready to start a dialogue with sex workers, apparently because they are “above” this, a British MP Lord Norman Fowler not only talked to me, a representative of the sex worker community, but has also agreed that sex work is work!

On April 12, 2012 there was a meeting in the conference center of the International AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, during which Lord Fowler was discussing the most acute problems in the area of HIV prevention as well as the needs of HIV vulnerable communities and service-providing NGOs with the representatives of sex worker, LGPT, injecting drug users and substitution therapy patients.

As a representative of the sex worker community I have told Lord Fowler about the League “Legalife”, about the mission of SWAN and about the situation of sex-workers in Ukraine. Lord expressed his support of our work, he was concerned about the actions of police, increased cases of violence and corruption and about the state’s reluctance to prosecute the perpetrators. The British MP has learned about the connections between Ukrainian laws and the low quality of life of sex workers, as well as about the lack of access to services, stigmatizing approaches to solving the problem. Lord was taking lots of notes. We hope that during his dialogue with the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities Lord Fowler will use this information so as to start a dialogue about the necessity of legislative reform in relation to sex work, as well as about the necessity to include sex workers in the process of decision-making about their own lives and choices.

Lord Fowler is in Ukraine on a parliamentary field trip which envisions a series of meeting with Ukrainian MPs, heads of the state bodies and visits to several NGOs in Kiev.

Lord Fowler is a Conservative peer and an influential politician. In different years during of his outstanding professional career he has occupied the posts of the Secretary of State of Transport, Secretary of State for Health and Social Security, Secretary of State for Social Services and Employment. For 9 years he was occupying various positions in the Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet of Ministers. In 1986 he started the first national campaign to fight HIV/AIDS which included harm reduction among other things. He remains a faithful supporter of the campaign up to the present day.
More detailed biographical information about Lord Fowler is available on the official web-site of the Parliament of Great Britain: http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/peter-fowler/315 and in the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Fowler.

International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, the regional office of the International Alliance of HIV/AIDS (Great Britain) was involved in planning the program of the Lord Fowler’s visit and is communicating with the potentially interested state bodies, international organizations, British Embassy in Ukraine, etc.

To read original on Legalife's website, click here.