Sex Workers Use ACPHR to Advance Their Rights

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Regional Correspondent Africa

African sex workers’ rights activists were recently trained on how work with regional, and international human rights processes in Port Louis, Mauritius. The goal of the training was to help sex workers’ right activists work with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACPHR) as well as other human rights mechanisms including treaty bodies and conventions, to hold their countries accountable when their rights are violated.

The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), in collaboration with the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, and Mauritius’s premier sex work organization, Parapli Rouz, conducted this three-day training. Twenty-five delegates from 7 African countries were trained. The training was from November 9-11, 2015. The delegates will work with local, and regional human rights mechanisms from 2016 onwards. Rachel Gawases, a trans sex worker from Namibia, said the training allowed her to “align domestic and international human rights mechanisms in my advocacy work as an activist.”

“It also allowed me to understand each treaty and which specific rights they protect and monitor when my country reports are submitted to various committees so that we ensure sex workers voices are included.” Those who graduated from the training said they are now in a position to submit reports on sex workers to the various organisations that are there to protect their rights.

“The training was helpful and useful. I am now familiar with regional and international rights which I did not know mostly, and I am even planning a training for the whole staff so that they have the same knowledge,” said Tosh Legoreng from Botswana.