Establishing legal services for entertainment and sex workers in Cambodia

    Funding mechanism: Programme Acceleration Fund (PAF), UNAIDS

    Project budget:
    73,509 USD


    This project aims to improve knowledge on legal rights and forge partnerships with authorities to improve the condition of sex and entertainment workers. The enactment of a new law on the suppression of human trafficking and sexual exploitation has driven sex workers underground. Due to the closure of brothels many sex workers moved to entertainment venues or at home, reducing their access to HIV services. These freelance sex workers are often being harassed and arrested by the police, ending up being physically and sexually abused by police and guards at detention centres.

Key activities

  • Establishing a Legal Service for entertainment and sex workers with appropriate institutional structures and mechanisms;
  • Raising awareness on legal rights among entertainment and sex workers;
  • Creating a team of paralegal case workers in Phnom Penh and at the sub-national level to ensure that entertainment and sex workers can have access to legal services;
  • Building the engagement of partners in the legal service, including the Community Partnership Teams which target most-at-risk populations in hot-spot districts, networks of entertainment and sex workers, and technical assistance providers;
  • Advocating a rights-based approach to legal services by forging strategic partnerships with the Royal Government of Cambodia, the National Centre for HIV, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and especially the Department of Police;
  • Providing 24-hour “On Call” rapid response;
  • Providing training for police; and
  • Providing social support to meet the demand generated by the Legal Service.