Hands Off II Sex work Botswana

Hands Off II Sex work Botswana


To reduce violence against sex workers, Aidsfonds works together with Sisonke (sex worker-led organisation from Gaborone and BONELA (a national NGO). Paralegals will continue to support sex workers in accessing legal services. At safe spaces in four districts sex workers can access support groups, receive psychosocial support and health services. Human rights violations against sex workers will be documented and used for lobbying and advocacy purposes. The organisations will advocate for policy and service provision changes at district level, as well as during high level meetings. Relationships with key stakeholders, such as service providers, community and religious leaders and police officers will be sought or intensified to reduce stigma and discrimination.

Project details

Time frame
01 January 2020 - 31 March 2024
€ 320,000
Active in

Gaborone, Francistown, Palapye, Phikwe

Show location details


Hands Off II partners work to reduce violence against sex workers at community, national and regional level. Outcomes BONELA and Sisonke work on mainly include: an empowered and resilient sex worker movement demands its rights; increased access to and use of inclusive services for sex workers; and a more enabling and supportive environment for sex work.

Community groups

The programme’s primary target group is female, male and transgender sex workers, meaning those who receive money or goods in exchange for sexual services, either regularly or occasionally. INERELA+ will also work with lawyers, government officials, policymakers and service providers.


Sex work in Botswana is conducted in a wide range of locations: from outdoor and street based sex work to restaurants, truck stops, bars, hotels, private homes or hostels. With the closing down of mines the locations where sex work takes place continue to move. There are an estimated 6.700 sex workers in Botswana. Due to the illegal status of sex work, sex workers experience difficulties in accessing health, social services and in seeking justice and legal compensation.

Research shows that 66 per cent of sex workers in Botswana experienced violence, mainly perpetrated by clients and police officers. HIV prevalence amongst sex workers is disproportionally high (42 percent) and more than a 45 percent of HIV positive sex workers do not have regular access to treatment.

News, stories and resources from this project

Best_practice Hands Off II Sex work Botswana 19 August 2019

A story of change: Increased access to justice for Botswana’s sex workers

Read the story of how sex workers in Botswana, united in Sisonke, and partn...
Report Hands Off II Sex work Botswana 31 July 2018

Sex work and violence in Botswana

This report presents the main findings of a study in Botswana examining violence...

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