Regional updates: Africa

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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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On the 7th of May 2012, the WONETHA Drop-In Centre in Gulu, Uganda was raided by police and computers and other items taken away.  WONETHA’s staff at the Drop In centre were also arrested and detained.

The arrested outreach workers and 3 other member were taken to court and charged with ‘living on the earnings of prostitution’.

Read the full story on ASWA’s website.

17th May 2012 by NSWP

NSWP and ASWA member, Health Options for Young Men on HIV, AIDS and STIs, based in Kenya, has been awarded a grant to train its members to be peer educators and undertake outreach through social media.

The award from amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, will provide sex workers living with HIV with HIV prevention and treatment information. Those trained will, in turn, will pass that knowledge on to other sex workers. Additionally, HOYMAS is working with the Kenyan government to improve public policies related to HIV among male sex workers.

14th April 2012 by NSWP

UNFPA Africa’s website features this story marking the launch of this resource, which can be found in our resources section here.

Source: Extract from the full story on the UNFPA Africa website.

Sex workers are a critical aspect of Namibia’s plans to tackle HIV and AIDS. However, up until 2011 little was known about their needs and challenges and nor were there national guidelines for effective, rights-based programming with sex workers. A series of rapid assessments on sex work and HIV was conducted by sex workers with the support of UNFPA and UNAIDS Namibia and the Society for Family Health (SFH). This was implemented as part of UNAIDS’ programme acceleration funding (PAF) award to UNFPA Namibia.

12th April 2012 by NSWP

Three new resources have been published by UNFPA / UNAIDS, in partnership with ASWA and The Society for Family Health, on sex worker rights and HIV in Namibia and are now available in our 'Resources' section (or just click on the name of the document below.)

4th April 2012 by NSWP

UNAIDS recently feature this story on the front page of their website about sex workers in both Namibia and Kenya advocating for their rights of access to health care and legal services, including coverage of the demontrations for International Sex Worker Rights Day on 3rd March.  It is certainly significant to see stories such as this being given such prominence on the UNAIDS site.  

Matthew Greenall on his Epidreamiology blog has however challeged a couple of significant accuracies carried in the article, specifically about sex owrkers not being able to negotiate condom use; and regarding exactly why sex workers asked for changes in laws and policies that impact on their lives.

3rd April 2012 by NSWP

The reality sex workers face in Namibia was revealed in a UNFPA community assessment conducted in five towns in which more than 200 sex workers participated.

9th March 2012 by NSWP

The Global Network of Sex Work Projects condemns the current situation of sex worker activists in Kenya and the harassment being experienced by human rights defenders in Nairobi.

The following is a summary of the press release from colleagues in Kenya and South Africa, in relation to recent events in Nairobi.  You can also view or download the full press release below.

9th February 2012 by NSWP

Colleagues at the ‘Forum on the Rights of Sex Workers in Togo’ have called for support to help advocate to obtain the release of sex workers recently arrested near Lomé – and in engaging with the various the authorities in Togo for legislation to protect the rights of sex workers.

On Saturday January 7 2012 at around 2200hrs a team of police from Kpalimé (120km northwest of Lomé) raided hotels and hostels known for being places where street sex workers go, and arbitrarily arrested several people.

2nd February 2012 by NSWP

Watch this great video of NSWP member organisation ASWA's Mozambique Coordinator Laila Matsinhe being interviewed at ICASA here.

2nd January 2012 by Neil McCulloch

Harassment by police and humiliation at clinics mean just 5 percent of sex workers in South Africa are getting access to health care.

Research by the Sex Worker Education Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), says up to 60 percent of sex workers nationwide were HIV-positive.  

Micky Meji, national co-ordinator of the Africa Sex Worker Alliance, added that the infection rate was higher due to harassment by police, who often confiscated condoms from sex workers.

You can read the full story as reported in the South African Daily News here.  

18th November 2011 by Neil McCulloch