This research represents the first effort to assess the legal needs and paths to justice for people who inject drugs and sex workers in Macedonia. It was conducted at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 using a mixed-methods research approach. The quantitative phase included 250 respondents chosen through stratified random sampling in two stages, out of which 169 injected/had injected drugs, and 107 were/had been engaged in sex work at the moment of the interview or in the prior three and a half years. The qualitative research phase, on the other hand, was comprised of focus group discussions with 69 respondents from both communities, as well as individual or group interviews with 7 representatives from competent institutions.
The research results showed that people who inject drugs and sex workers in Macedonia are ten times more likely to experience non-trivial justiciable problems in comparison to the general population in the country. In addition, low level of legal literacy, lack of trust in the institutions and systematic discrimination, among other factors, prevent citizens from these communities to seek protection of their rights and delivery of justice through institutional mechanisms. Such circumstances confirm the communities’ high vulnerability and underline the need for advancement of their access to information, legal advice and protection.