2017 – № 1(13)

Key words: migration, Tajiks, migration study, sexual life, condoms. 

Abstract:The paper explores the topic of leisure activities of Tajikistan labor migrants in Russia. The study was conducted by the interdisciplinary research team from Russia and Tajikistan. The paper provides general overview and analysis of health problems of migrants in the context of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, etc. Research was based on survey polls and in-depth interviews with migrants and their permanent sexual partners in Moscow. Authors provide their recommendations on the governmental authorities, public unions, diaspora regarding HIV/AIDS protection measures among labor migrants, their sexual partners in Russia and their wives who stay in Tajikistan.

This article is based on the materials of a study conducted in 2009-2011 in Tajikistan and Russia by an interdisciplinary team of specialists – ethnologists and medical specialists of Russia (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) and the Republic of Tajikistan (Prisma Research Center, Dushanbe). The study included a survey of 400 male labor migrants from Tajikistan, aged 18 to 45 years old, working in five markets and twenty construction sites in Moscow. Of the total number of respondents for the purposes of further research, thirty labor migrants from Tajikistan with regular partners in Moscow were selected. Migrants were chosen with regard to the expected knowledge of the subject of the research, as well as several demographic criteria: age, geographical origin, place of work in Moscow.

Two minimally structured interviews were conducted with each migrant and their permanent partners. Interviews were conducted with a time interval of 6 – 12 months and considered the experience and perspectives of regular partners on the following aspects: 1) personal experience; 2) women’s norms and concepts; 3) knowledge about HIV, attitude and behavior; 4) masculinity norms and behavior.

Information about personal experience related to: 1) family history; 2) education; 3) work experience; 4) religious beliefs and customs; 5) experience of war and refugees; 6) issues of ethnicity and culture.

In the light of urgent economic problems of migrants, the problem of preserving people’s health seems to be of secondary importance. Nevertheless, life far from the family, traditional norms of behavior and religious attitudes, as well as prejudices in the field of health preservation and disease prevention are gradually becoming key features of labor migrants life on the territory of Russia and their constant (seasonal) movement from Russia and back. In the framework of this article, an attempt will be made to address several questions:

1) Characteristics of relations between migrants from Tajikistan and their regular sexual partners in Moscow;

2) The knowledge and attitude of migrants and their regular partners in Moscow to HIV-risk prevention means – condoms;

3) Approaches to the use of condoms in such relationships.

The results of the study demonstrated the importance of incorporating views of both male migrants and their female partners and collecting data over an extended period. The inclusion of the points of view of both partners allowed the researchers to better understand the relationship in pairs and their perception of each other. Data collection over a long period allowed researchers to understand and show how these relationships and perceptions changed over time.

It is well known that labor migrants are the most vulnerable part of population at risk for HIV. Therefore, in our opinion, we should pay closer attention to these issues. We would like to give some recommendations to governmental organizations, public associations, diasporas:

  • Raise awareness of HIV / AIDS among labor migrants.
  • Promote condom use as a reliable barrier against the spread of HIV / AIDS.
  • Take into account the cultural characteristics of the sexual behavior of migrants. For example, it is better for a Tajik migrant to explain the “sinfulness” of a disorderly sexual relationship than to frighten him with an “incomprehensible virus.”
  • Provide migrants with access to health and HIV-related services. Such provision must be formalized at the legislative level.
  • Establish a confidential relationship with migrants, explain to them the importance of maintaining their health.
  • Overcome the language barrier when discussing such sensitive issues.
  • To draw the attention of medical anthropologists to this topic (on the problems and prospects of this branch of science see.: Kharitonova 2011: 3-10)

Of course, these recommendations cannot be a panacea for the plague of the 20th century, but they can serve as a good prevention tool, so that a returning home migrant would not acquire human immunodeficiency virus along with the earned money.


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This article is available in full version in Russian

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