2008 – Organisation of Social Change in Indonesia (OPSI) founded

The Organisation of Social Change in Indonesia (OPSI) is Indonesia’s national sex worker network. OPSI represents male, female and trans* sex workers working across all areas of the sex industry.

Despite the Indonesian archipelago including over 6000 inhabited islands, ambitious sex worker representatives from across the multi-island nation met in Jakarta on 28 November 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to explore their ability to form a nation-wide network of sex worker rights advocates, and to identify key advocacy areas for the network to address.

Indoor group photo with OPSI Board members and Indonesian Minister for Health
OPSI board members meet Minister for Health, 2013

Although living in geographically and culturally diverse locations across the country, delegates identified similar institutional issues impacting on the local sex worker communities they represented.

Sex workers reported experiencing regular human rights violations including:

  • homophobia;
  • gender based violence;
  • social and religious stigma associated with sex work as a legitimate choice of employment;
  • the expanding prevalence of HIV/AIDS affecting sex worker communities across the nation;
  • and the lack of legal protections for sex workers.

Delegates to the meeting conceded that they needed their own organisation to advocate around these issues and agreed that the organisation would be sex worker led and run. The name chosen for the network was: Organisasi Perubahan Sosial Indonesia (the Organisation of Social Change in Indonesia, OPSI).

OPSI have maintained a close relationship with the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), with OPSI’s president, Ferraldo Saragi (Aldo) serving several terms as an APNSW steering committee member.