In 2014 the AFP news agency reported that the 14 Malawian sex workers arrested by police and forced to undergo HIV tests in 2009 had launched a fresh bid to seek damages from the government for “unfair action and violating their privacy.” The group had been arrested and hauled to a government hospital for HIV testing without their consent, and had their positive results disclosed in an open court. According to the police, having the women tested was part of their investigation.
History of the Sex Worker Rights Movement
In June 2009 Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMWA) and the Urgent Action Fund-Africa (UAF-Africa) conducted the first-ever Sex Worker African Women’s Leadership Institute in Mombasa (Kenya). The workshop brought together sex workers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. This training was unusual in content, structure, interaction, learning and outcomes.
Sources of new HIV infections in Kenya (Kenya Mode of transmission study - KMOT, 2008)
In March 2008, women’s rights groups and development organisations joined forces to hold one of the first sex workers’ rights conferences on the African continent. The conference brought 35 activists and experts from allied groups to Kenya to discuss an evidence-based approach to sex workers’ health and human rights.
In October 2007 an HIV and Sex Work Conference took place in Maputo (Mozambique). About 150 delegates from Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe attended the conference to discuss a strategic plan aimed at addressing the spread of HIV among sex workers, as well as the risks sex workers face. The conference was organised by Mozambique's National AIDS Council and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities.
In May 2010 a Cape Town-based sex worker, only known as *Kylie, who had been dismissed from a brothel for not performing her duties properly won an important case in the Labour Appeal Court.
In August 2001, massage parlour owner Ellen Jordan and two of her employees, Louisa Broodryk and Christine Jacobs, appealed to the Pretoria High Court for the constitutionality of the Section 20 (1)(a) of the Sexual Offences Act (1957) which states that sexual intercourse between two persons of the opposite sex who are not married is an offence only if it is practised "for reward" by a person.
Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) is an organisation for and by all women working in bars and sex workers in Kenya. BHESP was founded in the year 1998 by a group of these vulnerable women as a ‘loose’ association to advocate for their rights and recognition.