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.
Regional updates: Africa
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in South Africa, by raising public awareness of the human rights violations suffered by sex workers under the current outdated legal framework.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.
A Member of Parliament in Malawi, Frank Mwenifumbo, has urged the government to legalise sex work and ensure there are different support systems around it. The MP claimed a lot of people in the country rely on the sex trade. “We see young ladies and young men standing along our streets for this purpose. Why can we not legalise it? We are in denial and yet it is there in the open that we have people depending on commercial sex” he said.
A member of County Assembly for a ward in Nairobi has put forward a motion prohibiting commercial sex in the city, which was passed by a vote on Friday 1st December.