NSWP Supports Sex Workers in Uganda and Their Right to Organise

Last week, the Sex Workers Leadership Institute organised by Akina Mama Wa Afrika and set to take place in Kampala, Uganda from 18 to 20th November was shut down by Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo. In a letter to the hotel hosting the conference, Buturo states that “prostitution is a criminal offence in Uganda” and as a result “the hotel is an accomplice in an illegality.”

Sex workers throughout Africa are vulnerable to violence from the police who criminalise and harass us, health institutions that refuse to treat us, and civil society members who deny us our humanity. By preventing sex workers from organising, the Ugandan government is complicit is perpetuating these grave injustices. Criminalising income generating activities that people engage in to survive, such as sex work, is not an effective way to reduce crime or protect safety.

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) stands in solidarity with sex workers in Africa who are reaching out to one another and building a grassroots network that stands up for sex workers’ rights. Uganda’s continued criminalisation and stigmatisation of sex workers is a violation of human rights, and we strongly oppose the harm it does to our communities.