As I continue to delve into the field of sex work, especially how it operates in Egypt and to what extent it is being funded, I have found out that there is extremely minimal local organization around the subject. This is of course not surprising to me, as the topic itself is very taboo and is shunned societally and even academically. But what becomes more interesting is the different ways in which local human rights or social development organizations frame the little work they do on sex work.
Due to the dilemma of sex work being illegal, it becomes hard for organizations to engage directly with sex workers, fearing their own safety as well as the safety of the sex workers they engage with. Which leads to one of two things happening, either organizations tend to distance themselves from the population all together by opting to work with lower income women and disguise them as sex workers to the funding organizations or grant making organization, or they reframe their actual proposal by not directly aiming their work towards sex workers and instead using language to indicate that they are targeting “low income women” instead. Either way we end up with a data issue, where sex workers are rarely found as the explicit target audience of projects or programs, hence funders or advocates are unsure of how big the field is when it comes to the development of livelihoods for sex workers or safeguarding their human rights which makes it harder to fill in the gaps.