HODSAS (Homme Pour le Droit et La Sante Sexuelle) have released a statement denouncing an increase in harassment in DRC, and highlighting the disproportionate costs of COVID-19 tests at the borders of DRC-Rwanda, and DRC-Burundi.
Regional updates: Africa
The Sex Workers Academy Africa (SWAA) held its 24th session last month, with 18 activists from three different African countries: Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The Academy ran for 7-days from 23rd to 29th November 2020 and involved female, male and transgender sex workers.
Coalition Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre pour le travail du sexe (CAfOC-TS) have issued a statement reporting on the human rights abuses and violence experienced by sex workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in francophone African countries.
CAfOC-TS – which is made up of organisations including UMANDE, And Soppeku, Blety, AFAZ - Association Femme Amazone, Alcondoms Cameroun, YERELON+, and HODSAS – work to address the problems faced by French speaking sex workers in Central and West Africa.
New Frame have written a feature on the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers in South Africa, looking specifically at the damaging impacts of criminalisation and the need to maintain a focus on the long-term policy changes that position sex workers as equal and protected citizens.
In April 2020, NSWP launched a global survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers.
AP News has published a report on the impact of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic on sex workers living with HIV. Speaking with sex workers and organisations from Rwanda and Zimbabwe, the article highlights the multiple ways that the current crisis is affecting those who do not have access to government support schemes.
Last week, the Uganda Key Populations Consortium (UKPC) and other civil society organisations released a statement strongly denouncing raids, arrests, extortion, and violent attacks targeting sex workers, barmaids and other vulnerable communities by police, Local Defense Units (LDUs), and Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) during the response to the spread of COVID-19.
At the end of February, the second case of COVID-19 was documented in an African country. Since then, the disease has spread to every region, resulting in nearly 32,000 confirmed cases and around 1,400 deaths.
Sex workers in Senegal, in western Africa, are struggling within the context of the pandemic, which has exposed existing inequalities and disproportionately affects people already criminalised, marginalised and living in financially precarious situations.
NSWP is seeking to recruit a Policy Officer to join our Policy Team, led by the Senior Policy Officer, working on developing global advocacy tools for our members and reviewing external policy documents in line with the NSWP Consensus Statement and the priorities set by the NSWP Board.
Sex workers are calling for more prevention and sensitisation work during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following the recent death of a sex worker in Eastern DRC.