This year before the 13th AWID International Forum, AWID hosted the Black Feminism Forum (BFF) from the 5-6 of September. During the BFF, there was a sex worker-led session called “Sex Work and Feminism: what does it mean to be an African sex worker feminist?” organised by Ntokozo Yingwana and Onkokame Mosweu from the African Sex Workers’ Alliance, Amaka Enemo from the Nigeria Sex Workers’ Association, and Sanyu Batte from Lady Mermaid’s Bureau.
Regional updates: Africa
On the 29th of April, 2016, sex work leaders in Kampala, Uganda, met to discuss the formation of a new sex worker-led network. They decided to form the Uganda Network for Sex Workers Organization (UNESO) to replace the former Uganda Harmonized Rights Alliance.
In a three-day intensive training, African sex workers were trained as Regional Community Experts for the Global Fund.
The technical assistance training for regional sex workers experts included sex workers from Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the ASWA Regional Secretariat. Sex workers learned the skills and knowledge that they will use to train sex workers in other countries on the Global Fund and its processes.
NIKAT, a sex worker-led organisation and NSWP member has started a community-led radio project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The founding members of NIKAT wanted to find new ways to do outreach to the community in Addis Ababa and they decided to start a sex worker-led radio programme on FM Shegar 102.1. The programme is called Betegna Radio Programme.
African sex workers’ rights activists were recently trained on how work with regional, and international human rights processes in Port Louis, Mauritius. The goal of the training was to help sex workers’ right activists work with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACPHR) as well as other human rights mechanisms including treaty bodies and conventions, to hold their countries accountable when their rights are violated.
Recent media reporting on sex work in various African countries show that sex workers continue to be portrayed negatively. Media outlets are further stereotyping sex workers using unsavouraly labels as well as portraying them in negative light. For example, in Kenya, one media station said sex workers ‘prey’ on married men while another termed them as ‘greedy’.
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) is co-organising a key populations pre-conference for this year’s International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Zimbabwe.