Religious leaders and sex workers in Southern Africa

Influencing the faith community
Last updated on: 27 February 2024

This training manual provides religious leaders with tools to positively engage with and welcome sex workers into their faith communities. The training curriculum includes sex workers’ rights, how criminalisation of sex work increases risk of violence and HIV infection, and how to ensure the human dignity of sex workers within communities. It was developed by INERELA+ with support of Aidsfonds.

We now realise that the church must support sex workers and recognise that sex work is a profession like any other. My mandate now is to train other ministers to extend the ministry with sex workers – Training participant, Botswana

Religious leaders are in a unique position to create a more supportive environment for sex work. Under Hands Off INERELA+ looks to empower its members (religious leaders of their interfaith network) to become agents of change who will help eliminate stigma and discrimination within their congregations and faith communities, and challenge stigma against sex workers.

A Portuguese version of the training manual is available on request.