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

Regional Network

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.

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A new report highlighting the interconnectedness of the LGBTIQ and sex worker rights movement in East Africa says that both these movements have greatly contributed to social justice in the region.

17th October 2013 by NSWP

The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) joins NSWP in condemning the latest attack on sex workers' rights, an attack which takes the form of a campaign against several UN agencies' recommendations to decriminalise sex work.

26th September 2013 by NSWP

The Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) has urged Parliamentarians to decriminalise sex work in South Africa. The CGE made the call as it presented a position paper on sex work in South Africa to parliamentarians in August, 2013.

"Decriminalisation means: repeal all laws against sex work," CGE commissioner Janine Hicks said at the announcement of the institution's position.

8th September 2013 by NSWP

Female sex workers across Kenya who are living with HIV have formed several groups to offer support and assist them economically.

8th September 2013 by NSWP

A study of sex workers in four African countries has found out that sex workers face gross human rights violations and abuse due to the criminal nature of their work.

‘Human rights abuses and collective resilience among sex workers in four African countries: a qualitative study’ released in early August by a team of researchers who talked to female, male and transgender sex workers in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, found that unlawful arrests and detention, violence, extortion as well as societal exclusion ‘had an extreme impact on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of this population.’

‘The majority of countries in the world have punitivelaws against sex work,’ the report states, ‘… virtually throughout Africa, this occupation is an explicit criminal offence.’

‘This criminalization and the intense stigma attached to the profession shapres interactions between sex workers and their clients, family, fellow community members, and societal structures such as the police and social services.’

14th August 2013 by NSWP

SWEAT and Sisonke have launched the 'In Her Heels' toolkit on Women's Day (9th August), at the Artscape Women/Humanity Arts Festival.

‘In Her Heels’ is a sensitisation training tool that puts participants in sex workers' shoes – using story cards and different scenarios that are based on sex workers real life stories.

The narratives challenged the public to empathise and walk in the sex workers ‘high heels’ to reflect on stories of rape, abuse, shame.

At the launch participants were also asked to literally wear high heels (which were provided) before entering the 'In Her Heels' training space. Nearly a hundred people participated.

14th August 2013 by NSWP

Tanzania should decriminalise consensual adult sex work by removing or modifying article 176(a) of the Tanzania Penal Code and 181(a) of the Zanzibar Penal Code, which criminalises sex work, as well as other laws related to sex work that may infringe on human rights, including laws on “harbouring prostitutes” and “living off the earnings of prostitution,” Human Rights Watch has said in a July 18 report.

28th July 2013 by NSWP

PRESS RELEASE ON K24’s FEATURE, BWETA LA UHALIFU: NDOA HADAA

We, the undersigned, having noted with concern, the recent feature story by K24 TV’s Bweta La Uhalifu: Ndoa Hadaa, aired on Monday and Tuesday, July 8-9, 2013, at prime time, where they showed various sex work hotspots in Nairobi’s CBD, and having exposed the faces of some of the female sex workers and their clients, including their lodgings, wish to condemn the blatant exposure of the persons featured in this documentary by K24 and general content and messaging of the feature.

We note:

The disregard by the journalists and producers by showing, on live television, the faces of women who sell sex thereby exposing them to risk such as beatings, rejection, shame and discrimination.

The use of tricks by the show’s producers to blackmail and entice the sex workers into giving their personal stories and using hidden cameras, to capture faces and locations, is also suspect and in clear violation of journalism ethics and practices. 

The decision to show public exposure by some of the sex workers on live television was demeaning and dangerous to young persons who watch the show.

9th July 2013 by NSWP

ACCRA, GHANA - USING INNOVATIVE outreach and targeted counselling, peer educators have helped bring about a nearly 30 percent drop in HIV infection rates among Ghana’s sex workers over the past six years.

Thanks to effective campaigns by groups like The West Africa Program to Combat AIDS and STI (WAPCAS), HIV prevalence among female sex workers in Ghana fell from 37.8% in 2006 to 25% in 2009, then further to 11.2%, two years later, according to the National AIDS Commission.

Because sex work is illegal in Ghana, females engaged in the trade are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse which they cannot report because they have little legal recourse.

20th June 2013 by NSWP




TANZANIAN POLICE torture, rape and assault sex workers, sexual minorities and drug users, while medical staff deny them healthcare, undermining efforts to reduce HIV infection, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Tuesday.

20th June 2013 by NSWP