Report launch: human rights violations against sex workers in Southern Africa

Report launch: human rights violations against sex workers in Southern Africa

During the 16 Days of Activism, the Hands Off programme is releasing its yearly report on human rights violations against sex workers in Southern Africa. The report is officially launched during ICASA -the biggest conference on HIV/AIDS in Africa- together with all the partners and key stakeholders.

It should be a simple fact: sex workers are human beings, and their human rights should be respected. Yet as criminalisation calls make significant progress across the globe, sex workers are sounding the alarm that the violence, stigma, and discrimination they face currently will only grow. Criminalising voluntary adult sex work is only the beginning of a cascade of human rights violations. Sex workers feel unsafe to report violence committed against them not just by clients, but by the institutions committed to serving all of society: our healthcare systems, our law enforcement and our religious spaces. This atmosphere of stigma, violence, and discrimination makes sex workers particularly vulnerable to risks compared to the general population; in the case of HIV, rates of infection are 30 times higher for sex workers. Enshrining and protecting the human rights of sex workers must become a foundational demand we ask of our communities for safe, healthy futures for all.

Report: Claiming Human Rights

This is the third year that the Hands Off programme presents data on human rights violations perpetrated against sex workers in the past twelve months. A total of 2466 human rights violations were captured in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe between December 2022 and November 2023. 

The programme is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mozambique.

MyChamp: champions for sex worker's rights

In most countries, sex workers are being criminalised. They are being stigmatised for the work that they do. As a result, sex work is risky and sex workers are faced with much violence. Many people in society, including their own politicians, fail them.

But luckily… there are also those who stand tall to protect sex workers’ rights. Namely, champions of change who, against all odds, strive for human rights and harmful laws to be changed. We found several of these champions and want to rain praise on these amazing people! By shedding light on their incredible stories, we aim to encourage everyone to stand up for sex workers’ rights. Because human rights are for all. Check them out!

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