Kristina, 22 years old, is the only transgender or male sex worker who works in the street on a regular basis. She has been the victim of numerous incidents of violence, physical as well as emotional and psychological. Skopje, Macedonia Alija, 19 years old, lives with and works for a pimp whom she says she is in love with, but also wants to leave because he is violent and controlling. Alfred, 20 years old, placed in a state institution when he was a teenager because he was caught shoplifting and is now supporting himself as a sex worker. Kristina reported being raped by a client to men who identified themselves as police officers.
STAR: From the Las Vegas of Macedonia to a pop up red light window
Macedonia by Tiana Markova-Gold
This village, tucked down in the southwestern corner of the country near the border with Albania, is one of the strangest places in this part of the Balkans. It has the high-walled brick homes and rutted lanes typical of villages here, but amid the hay barns there are more than a dozen neon-lit nightclubs and sex bars with names like Madonna and Paradiso. And beneath the strange combination of rural quiet and nighttime glitz, the place has a very sinister reputation. The first bar on the main street is the Expresso. A group of young men and several young women in skimpy clothes stood by their cars outside the club on a recent night.
Prostitution in North Macedonia
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.
Some sex workers fight back against the current double morality discourses. This blog is about the human rights defenders of the first sex worker collective in the Balkans; the power of claiming back the use of their own imagery to make a political campaign and how they are expanding. We are sitting in a small basement bar in Gostivar. An old gas heater and a fake window seem to be the only light on what is a cold January morning. On the other side of the table, Dennis —my partner on my first self-funded field visit to one of our grantee partners- talks with other members.