Sex worker organisations and other human rights groups have condemned the arrest and violent mistreatment of women by police, who arrested more than 100 women at nightclubs in Abuja last week. It has been reported the women were arrested under sex work laws, although many of the women deny being sex workers.
Regional updates: Africa
Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.
Regional Board Members
Phelister Abdalla (KESWA), Kenya
Aimée Furaha (UMANDE), Democratic Republic of Congo
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) is a pan-African network of sex worker-led national networks and national and local organisations led by and/or working with female, male and transgender sex workers. It was formed in 2009 by sex workers and women’s activists and non-governmental organisations and is now based in Nairobi, Kenya.
News articles from Africa region are listed below.
The South African Government is considering a policy on decriminalisation of sex work, according to President Ramaphosa. The President told a number of organisations at an event last week that the government would: "finalize the outstanding legislation such as the prevention and combating [of] hate crime, the hate crime bill and victim support services. We will work with all stakeholders to develop policy around the decriminalization of sex work."
International human rights organisations have condemned recent the harassment and arrest of gay men in Tanzania, following comments from a government official on plans to establish a task force to identify, track down and arrest people suspected of being gay.
Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is currently in the midst of a massive operation against sex workers.
Women’s and sex workers’ rights activists are protesting in Uganda following increasing numbers of violent attacks on women, including women sex workers. Groups report that kidnapping of women for ransom and murder have become increasingly common crimes in Uganda, and that there has not been sufficient investigation or justice for victims and their families.
The 17th Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA) has begun in Nairobi with 16 participants from three countries taking part.
On Friday 20th April, 3 members of NSWP member Avenir Jeune de l'Ouest (AJO) were arrested at their offices in Dschang, Cameroon, following a raid by police. A further two members were arrested on Saturday 21st April, and have since been held at Dschang Central Police station. AJO reported that the members were not given reason for their detention and suffered violence and aggression at the hands of the police.
Criminalisation of sex work is an expression of stigma against sex workers and is opposed by sex workers and sex workers’ rights organisations around the world. In South Africa, the Sisonke Sex Workers’ Movement and Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) have continued to advocate for the full decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa, by raising public awareness of the human rights violations suffered by sex workers under the current outdated legal framework.
Sex workers took to the streets in Kisii, Kenya, demanding action against the killers of their colleague Jescah, known as Msupa Brown. Jescah was reportedly gang-raped before being brutally murdered in December last year. The sex workers, who came from various parts of the country, demonstrated to stand in solidarity with local sex workers following the heinous killings in Kisii.