Sex work is legalised in Senegal

Share to Pinterest Share to Google+ Share by email
7 Jun

Sex work was legalised in Senegal in 1969.

Under Senegal's Penal Code (articles 318 to 327) sex workers must be at least 21-years-old, register with the police, carry a valid sanitary card, and test negative for sexually transmitted infections.

Sex workers must report to designated registration sites for regular health check-ups. The law also requires sex workers to acquire and keep current health books, in order to avoid arrest. Police monitor sex workers to ensure that they attend regular health check-ups.

Though the law calls for two visits per month, due to overcrowding clinics are forced to reduce the visits to once a month. A sex worker with an STI must relinquish their card until treatment is completed, a precaution that aims to keep them from working, since the police can arrest them for working without their health book. Sex workers are asked to pay the clinic 500 CFA francs a month for tests and treatment.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working with sex workers claim that police abuse is prevalent. Therefore, NGOs such as the Association for Women at risk from AIDS (AWA) also aim to protect sex workers' legal rights, but social workers complain about the lack of resources to protect women when the police arrest them on trumped-up charges. Sometimes the women have to choose between going to jail or meeting police demands for money or sex, or both.

While prostitution itself is legal, soliciting, brothel ownership, and pimping are prohibited. The government strictly regulates locations for commercial sex work.