Director of Thai Sex Workers’ Group Honored as Human Rights Champion
ORGANIZATION RECEIVED COMMUNITY AWARD FROM amfAR'S MSM INITIATIVE
SWING conducts outreach among sex workers.
June 4, 2009—Surang Janyam, director of a Thai sex workers’ organization called SWING (Service Workers In Group), was recently honored as a human rights defender by Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission. SWING, which provides health education and outreach to male and female sex workers, received a community award from the MSM Initiative in 2008.
Surang has led educational programs for sex workers for 20 years and launched SWING in 2002. The group is using its amfAR award to promote prevention and screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among male sex workers. Participants in the project are using daily “sexual health diaries” to keep track of sexual risk behaviors and possible STI symptoms, as well as visits to STI clinics. Peer outreach workers review the diaries with participants and use the information to encourage the sex workers to protect themselves against HIV and other STIs and to utilize voluntary testing and counseling services.
SWING is also a member of the Purple Sky Network, an umbrella organization of more than 80 grassroots groups in the Greater Mekong Sub-region that provide HIV prevention, treatment, and care for men who have sex with men (MSM). amfAR’s TREAT Asia program serves as regional coordinating secretariat for the Purple Sky Network.