A story of change: Zimbabwean sex workers advocate for their rights

A story of change: Zimbabwean sex workers advocate for their rights

This story of change describes how the Zimbabwean sex worker community unified their voices and were listened to all the way up in the High Court. It is about sex workers ending arbitrary arrests by the police in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, sex workers criminalisation of sex work, violence, and brutality and exploitation of power by the police. These challenges hinder an effective HIV response. This is serious as most recent data (from 2017) shows that more than half of sex workers in Zimbabwe are living with HIV – 57.1 per cent. Evidence shows that by addressing violence, new HIV infections can be reduced with 25 percent.

As a response to this alarming situation, sex worker-led organisations Pow Wow and the Zimbabwe Sex Workers Association (ZIMSWA), as well as the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC)have empowered sex workers to claim their rights. And with success, the number of sex worker arrests has dropped significantly and sex workers experience less harassment by the police.   

The SRC, ZIMSWA and Pow Wow are partners of Aidsfonds in the Bridging the Gaps, Hands Off! and Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV response (PITCH) programmes.

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