Sex Work in Namibia - UNFPA rapid assessment

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.

The 'Sex Work and HIV- Reality on the ground Rapid Assessment’ was conducted at Kalkrand, Windhoek, Katima Mulilo, Walvis Bay and Oshikango.  In total 29 focus groups were conducted with 212 sex workers.

The findings showed that many sex workers reported that they have found it difficult to get the police to follow up on complaints of abuse and many find it difficult to access condoms, especially free ones, which results in unprotected sex.  Participants also spoke about the negative attitudes of the community towards them.  Some even reported that police officers demand sex as a condition for registering a complaint, or that police contact was characterised by extortion, physical beatings and even rape.

Transgender sex workers and male sex workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse and violence.  When arrested, transgender women are often placed with men and as a result they often face rape and violence in custody, states the report.

Read more on the reports finding in the Namibian Sun