Project Safe is a grassroots all-volunteer organization that promotes human rights-based public health harm reduction and works with women, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and trans people in Philadelphia’s sex trade. The community space is located in Kensington (a block away from Prevention Point) and primarily focuses on providing services and resources to participants working and living in the street economies of the area.
Project Safe began in 2004 in response to the male-dominated nature of needle exchanges, which lacked the support women needed. Women experience a lot of unique barriers such as children and child care (for example, children cannot enter Prevention Point — you have to be 18+), so Project Safe provides a safe space for participants to bring their children. A lot of women also avoid needle exchange because they do not want to run into a former boyfriend etc… and there is a lot of stigma, especially if a woman is pregnant. The solution to this was establishing Project Safe as well as a home delivery service where large amounts of supplies (such as needles and condoms) are distributed to a social network, allowing for a deeper reach into the community and accessing people who do not normally come to needle exchange.
Project Safe understands that sex workers deserve to have their basic human rights respected, as well as access to basic needs and harm reduction supplies. Project seeks to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among our community, and promote health and safety by empowering the community with relevant information and resources. Overall, the goal of Project Safe is to provide safety and stability to participants.
The field site is a two-story house in Kensington where I work with my supervisor.
Link to a video created in 2012 about Project Safe: https://vimeo.com/34933398