The comprehensive study was conducted in partnership with CO “Legalife-Ukraine”. It aimed to study factors contributing to and preventing the decriminalization of sex workers in Ukraine. Based on the collected qualitative and quantitative sociological data, we analyzed the attitude and willingness of the population, providers, and recipients of sex services to the decriminalization processes, including the willingness of sex workers to register their activities and pay taxes officially.
The study methodology is based on several methods of empirical data collection and subsequent analysis:
1) Structured face-to-face interviews with the population. Sampling: national, multistage, stratified, using the quota method of respondents’ selection at the last stage. There were two parameters of compliance with the quota: gender and age. The sample included representatives of the general population.
General population: the population of all types of cities in Ukraine and rural areas aged 18 to 60 years. A total of 800 respondents were interviewed.
2) Structured face-to-face interviews with sex workers. The sample is national, representative. The survey of sex workers covers the following cities: KryvyiRih, Vinnytsia, Mykolaiv, Zhytomyr, Mariupol, Cherkasy, Zolotonosha, Kharkiv, Lviv, Chervonohrad, Poltava, and Kyiv. A total of 200 respondents in this target group who had an experience of providing sex services in the last 12 months were interviewed.
3) Online survey of clients – users of sex services.
Potential survey respondents were recruited through the InMind online panel, which has over 30000 participants. After screening, 100 respondents aged 18-60 who had used sex services for a fee during the last 3 years became participants of the online survey.
4) In-depth interviews with experts:
- staff of human rights NGOs;
- health professionals (doctors: dermatovenerologist, gynecologist, infectious disease specialist);
- police officers (current officers and those who retired not more than 3 years ago);
- sex worker administrators (“mommies”, pimps).
A survey with experts was conducted in the following cities: Kyiv, BilaTserkva, Poltava, Mykolaiv, Lviv. In total, 20 experts were interviewed.
As the results of the survey, we have the evidence base which can be used in advocacy activities aimed at decriminalizing sex work in Ukraine, countering stigma and discrimination against sex workers, and improving their access to social and health services.