Did you know that in 2010 a special project was launched in Salzburg which focuses on providing support for those leaving sex work? Have you ever heard of the institution iBUS? In any case, you have come to the right place. The fact is that professional networking on a regional and national – even international – level is a real matter of the heart for us at Hope for the Future. In Austria, there are dozens of organizations that support people of different sexes, different origins, and so on in their everyday lives, helping them on their way to a better future. And we would like to introduce you to a few of these great counselling and support centers which make an enormously important contribution with their commitment, especially in the provinces of Salzburg and Tyrol.
REAL EMPOWERMENT WITHOUT ‘IFS’ AND ‘BUTS’
A project very dear to us in the middle of the Tyrolean capital: the association Divine Love. Trafficked persons and sexually exploited people as well as women and men who work in prostitution and the erotic industry find here not only an open ear for their concerns, but also social work and counseling support in many forms. Since its foundation in 2020, the full-time and voluntary staff have focused on their empowerment principle. Encouraging and strengthening their clients on their way to a new life is the most important – and most fulfilling – task for them.
Do you remember the institution iBUS mentioned above? iBUS, also called the Innsbrucker Beratung und Unterstützung für Sexarbeiter*innen (Innsbruck Counselling and Support for Sex Workers), is – as the name already tells you – an institution that has been working for the rights of sex workers for more than a decade. Discrimination and stigmatization have no place here, because the clientele includes women, transgender persons, and men who are both active or were once active. In addition to street work, iBUS also offers a range of counselling services. Confidential, free of charge and completely anonymous legal and psychosocial counselling, health promotion and much more can be taken advantage of. For iBUS, one thing is paramount: that all sex workers in Tyrol are as self-determined and comprehensively protected as possible – both health-wise and legally – in their everyday professional lives.
TWO FEDERAL STATES, ONE GOAL
Behind the iBUS institution and at the front in the fight for women’s self-determination is the association „Arbeitskreis Emanzipation und Partnerschaft“ – in short: AEP. Since its founding in 1974, AEP has made it its mission to make topics such as legal abortion, sex education, the removal of taboos on sexuality, etc. more present in society – and to push them forward. AEP’s areas of competence range from education and cultural work to basic work and public relations for a feminist women’s policy. The association also has a lot to offer in terms of counselling, as AEP also has its own family counselling center and, of course, the iBUS facility mentioned above.
In Salzburg, too, various organizations are committed to strengthening women’s self-determination. One of them is KoKon Beratung+Bildung für Frauen: A women’s service center that uses legal and psychosocial advice for women, projects and events to address and promote the equality of women and men in society. But that’s not all: women from all over the province can turn to KoKon for confidential, anonymous and free counselling. Depending on the competence required for optimal support, the Women’s Service Center also refers affected women to specialized institutions. This ensures that every client receives the best support.
MORE THAN A CONSULTATION
In 2010, the city and province of Salzburg launched a project that was – and still is – an important contact point for sex workers throughout the province. Behind the project name „PiA“ is an exit aid, which is available free of charge and anonymously to active and former sex workers with a comprehensive range of counselling services regarding health or a new career. It is particularly helpful that every person affected can get mobile advice from a social worker as well as directly in the contact point itself.
The association „Frauentreffpunkt“ is also helpful. As a long-standing women’s counselling center, the multi-professional team of lawyers, psychologists, social workers & co. has gained important experience and expertise thanks to additional training in order to be able to competently assist women in a wide range of matters. This includes counselling on topics such as relationships, mental health, gainful employment and material livelihood: counselling areas which support women in finding new perspectives and a way to more self-determination.
Once again, the great commitment towards women’s rights, sex work, and empowerment in the Austrian – or rather, Tyrolean and Salzburg – association landscape is shown and how important this is for our society! We say: Keep it up!
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