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The largest part of the sex industry in Macedonia is performed in night clubs usually operating as illegal brothels , bars and private apartments. Thus, at the moment, we are in a situation in which the problem with prostitution is dealt with by the organs of the Ministry of Interior, as a problem of disturbing the public order, tightly connected with criminal activities, and by centres for social work which are concerned with prostitution only in specific situations encompassing social issues.
In line with this differentiation, both organs have different definitions and approaches towards this social phenomenon, do not follow it systematically, and have neither records nor any other data regarding it. In the legal regulations of the Republic of Macedonia the performance of sex work, i. M , while some other activities regarding sex work procuring, encouragement, earning by facilitating the provision of sexual services are treated and penalized as criminal offences Art.
All of this affects the dignity and human rights of sex workers, bringing them under constant threat as a result of the selective change of the law and the existing negative stereotypes , which leads to an increase in the violence and stigma, creating distrust toward institutions, marginalization and creating hard-to-reach groups most exposed to infection with STI and HIV. In line with determined needs for the contacted sex workers, which could not be met by existing institutions, HOPS upgraded its services by introducing social, health and legal support services, developed a drop in centre for sex workers, started programs targeting clients of sex workers, but also families, partners and children, and continuously works on community empowerment which leaded to establishing of a newly informal sex workers group STAR.
Still, the program which HOPS is running is the only existing one in whole country, it covers limited number of sex workers and the services provided are available only to sex workers living and working in Skopje. All this emphasise the need of future greater involvement of sex workers and their allies in advocating and putting the sex work on the political and public agenda not just as a public health, but also as a human right and labour issue.
There are no relevant and systematic researches for the extent of sex work in Macedonia. However, the public, on the basis of expert and public media statements, operates with a number of to people engaged in sex industry, including those forced to perform sexual services, i.