Hands Off II Sex work Zambia

Hands Off II Sex work Zambia


Not a lot is known on violence against sex workers in Zambia, which is why the Hands Off 2 programme will conduct a needs assessment on violence and sex work in Zambia in 2020. Working together with ZASWA (national sex worker-led movement) and SAT ZAMBIA (regional NGO), Aidsfonds aims to reduce violence against sex workers in Zambia. By training community champions and increasing sex workers’ rights literacy, sex workers will be more aware of their own rights and eventually demand their own rights. ZASWA will roll out trainings on reducing self-stigma and will ensure that sex workers have access to sex worker-friendly health services by sensitising healthcare workers on the needs of sex workers. Activities will also focus on establishing strong crisis response systems.

Project details

Time frame
01 April 2020 - 31 March 2024
€ 185,000
Active in

Solwezi, Chipata, Kitwe, Chililabombwe and Lusaka

Show location details


Hands Off 2 partners work to reduce violence against sex workers at community, national and regional level. Outcomes of partners in Zambia include a functional and sustainable national sex worker movement with sex workers who are able to demand their own rights. Other outcomes are an increased access to and use of health services for sex workers and a reduction of stigma and discrimination against sex workers.

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. In Zambia, health care workers and police officers are also part of the target group.


Selling or buying sex is not illegal in Zambia, but activities associated with sex work are criminalised. According to Zambian law the procurement, living on the earnings of sex work, soliciting clients, brothel-keeping, production or exhibition of obscene matters, and indecent behaviour are illegal activities.

In Zambia, sex work mainly takes place on the street or indoors in brothels, bars and nightclubs or along the main trucking corridors. A small scale study in Lusaka on police violence mentions that 87 percent of sex workers experienced police harassment and intimidation. The most recent data on sex work shows an HIV prevalence of 48.8 percent among female sex workers.

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