In 2020, an EUU Social Action grant was awarded to Aliena, a center that offers multiple forms of support for women working in the sex industry in Basel, for a fundraising production of The Vagina Monologues. Unfortunately, the performance had to be cancelled due to flooding at the venue, but the money was held over and is now being awarded this year.
A key source of Aliena’s usual funding is a local hotel run by a parent charity to Aliena, and hotels are currently closed. At the same time, the risks faced by the women they attempt to support are greater than usual during this pandemic: so called “sex work” is currently banned, but many of the women who usually work here legally are now either without work and at imminent risk of homelessness, or are engaging in this work under pressure, and/or at significant direct risk, from their “handlers.”
Aliena reports that their major outreach activity, a Thursday evening hot meal and drop-in session, is at risk. This is an opportunity for women to get information about services available to them and to talk with staff who can answer questions and give advice and support: e.g., to prevent women from becoming homeless.
EUU’s donation of €500 will go towards maintaining the basic costs of this drop-in service. The Basel Fellowship has also supported Aliena with a donation of CHF375 from its own Social Action budget, and fellowship members have the opportunity to participate in other fundraising efforts in collaboration with the production team of The Vagina Monologues.