Previous systematic reviews on the effectiveness of empowerment programs for sex workers in HIV response suggests that there is an urgency to document more evidence in different setting and geographic variation due to the existing evidence and publications still focus on few geographic areas, female sex workers and using less variation of conceptual frameworks. In the light of this recommendation, this study aims to assess the impact of community empowerment on meaningful participation of sex worker communities in policies, programming and services and on access and utilization of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV in Indonesia. Even though empowerment programs of sex worker communities have been done in decades and spread across Indonesia’s archipelago, few studies have documented this initiative. Therefore, this study can be considered as the first documentation of this intervention.
Since the focus of the study is to look at the mechanism by which community mobilization and community empowerment can improve participation of sex workers in the decision making and strengthen their access to SRHR and HIV services in the community, this study uses a conceptual framework of community mobilization that focuses on understanding on how social mobilization and community empowerment reduces/addresses power imbalances that challenge sex workers to fulfill their rights. By focusing on three domains of community empowerment (power within, power with and power over resources), the study can identify processes at individual, group and community levels that enable or hamper sex worker’s community change. Using this conceptual framework, the study also can explain relationships/associations between community empowerment and accessibility and utilization of social and health services, participation in policy development related to their work environment and pursuing their rights to protect themselves, their family and sexual partners from the impact of HIV.