Aidsfonds statement 16 Days of Activism 2020

Aidsfonds statement 16 Days of Activism 2020

The 16 Days of Activism campaign (November 25th-December 10th) is a global campaign aimed at advancing efforts to address various forms of gender-based violence. At Aidsfonds, we stand strong against all forms of violence. Together with partners, we support movements and initiatives that advance human rights for all.

Read on this page our statement that pushes to eliminate violence against sex workers. 

Access the official Aidsfonds 16 Days of Activism social media toolkit here

This year, we amplify the voices of women in the informal economy, taking the opportunity to highlight the experiences of sex workers and call for the full decriminalisation of sex work. Like others working in informal industries, sex workers are often working under precarious conditions. Being excluded from social protection makes them vulnerable to discrimination and violence. 

Not recognising sex work as legitimate work and failure to include sex workers in discussions hinders initiatives to improve sex workers’ labour rights, working conditions, health and access to human rights.

In Southern Africa, 70% of the sex workers report to experience stigma, discrimination, violence and other human rights violations during their work. Clients and police officers are reported as the main perpetrators of violence. Violence is one of the structural drivers that increases the risk of HIV infection among sex workers. It leads to inconsistent condom use, increased risk of infection, and prevents sex workers from accessing legal support and health care services.

The impact of COVID-19 on sex workers has exacerbated the challenging conditions in which sex workers often find themselves working. This includes unsafe working environments, lack of access to criminal justice and limited to no access to healthcare services. The pandemic has also affected income generation opportunities, and criminalisation has proven to limit access to support systems such as government relief funds. This further subjects sex workers to broader forms of systemic violence and inequities. Large-scale research shows that if violence against sex workers is tackled, we can prevent up to 25% of new HIV infections. 

With decriminalisation, sex workers’ legal, health and human rights are recognised and upheld. Benefits will include safer working conditions, reducing chances for abuse and violence. Governments will also benefit through sex workers’ tax payments, which will in turn allow sex workers to access government insurance and security benefits such as unemployment funds for times like COVID-19. 

Aidsfonds emphasizes our strong position against violence in all forms and supports partners and sex workers. By increasing awareness, implementing advocacy campaigns and sharing knowledge. The Aidsfonds Hands Off Programme works with partners in mobilising stakeholders who collectively work together to address violence against sex workers.

Over the next 16 days, we will be sharing stories of how our Hands Off partners mobilise for decriminalisation of sex work, as well as what you can do to support and amplify these voices. We invite you this year, to join the movement in calling for full decriminalisation of sex work, by downloading and sharing this toolkit (to link) and sharing our social posts and articles. 

Click here to read more about Hands Off Best Practices.

Join the movement

Together, we can end the silence around gender-based violence against sex workers by listening to their stories and hearing what is often left unspoken. We need to give sex workers a platform to share their experiences, raising awareness for this issue. This movement mobilises organisations around ending violence against sex workers to give it the attention it urgently needs. Join the movement now to #EndSexWorkViolence and to #DecriminaliseSexWorkNow by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn and help share the messages. 

Join the global movement by adding the hashtag #NoMoreMissingRights and tagging both @Aidsfonds_intl and @16DaysCampaign on Twitter, and @Aidsfonds on LinkedIn. 

Access the Aidsfonds social media toolkit via this link.

Access the Global 16 Days of Activism social media toolkit via this link uses cookies to offer the best website experience possible and to anonymously analyze website behaviour. More information.