In 1998, late Carol Jenkins, conducted the first National Behavioral Surveillance Survey (NBSS) in Bangladesh. Female sex workers were the major part of the surveillance. Carol Jenkins said that she would like to get some sex workers interviewers who could interview sex workers. It was not easy to find educated sex workers in Bangladesh at that time. However, some educated sex workers were selected as interviewers. The performance and quality of the interviewers were excellent and Carol Jenkins encouraged more and more sex workers to involve with research as well as interventions.
In 2000, the same sex workers started the second Behavioral Surveillance again, including some other new sex workers who joined as interviewers. Also this time, educated sex workers showed more interest to join as peer researchers. This year, two sex workers also joined as supervisors of the sex workers’ research component.
In 2001, the third round of BSS started from a private research organization. That year more educated sex workers came together and they played vital roles in the surveillance. Also, during the time of fieldwork all the sex workers conducted several meetings and decided to form a sex workers organization. They also requested help from some other researchers who were involved with the surveillance. All the sex workers agreed that they would like to continue research as well as interventions with sex workers. They agreed that to avoid stigma and discrimination among sex workers they would put the word “research” with their organization. In this way, in the same year they formed a sex workers collective called “HIV/AIDS Research and Welfare Center (HARC).”
In 2001, HARC registered with the Ministry of Social Welfare. Currently over 80% of sex workers are in the executive committee and also 100% of the staff and volunteers are from the sex workers communities. They make all the major decisions of the organization.