In September, the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), a sex worker-led organisation run by and for sex workers in Africa, stood firmly against the radical move by former sex workers and campaigners in the Global North to protest against the decriminalisation of sex workers, including third parties such as our partners, employees, and clients.
In a media release ASWA stated that, “While we condemn trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and vulnerable women and other populations, we are firm in our position that sex work is work, and is engaged by consenting adults, and the decriminalisation of sex work and sex workers”.
The ASWA statement went on to acknowledge that trafficking does exist but that it often occurs in countries and cities where sex work is highly criminalised and women are not empowered, thus rendering them vulnerable. ASWA argues that decriminalisation will ensure that there are systems in place that protect the people in the industry from perpetrators of abuse.
“As such, we stand with UNAIDS, UNDP, the WHO, the UNFPA and NSWP in rejecting this new campaign that seeks to further criminalise us. Criminalisation makes us more marginalised and unsafe. The African Sex Workers Alliance is proud to stand with these international agencies, and sex worker-led projects around the world in calling for decriminalisation”, the statement concluded.
- ASWA statement to the United Nations protests against Decriminalisation
- ‘Campaigners protest against United Nations stance on prostitution’
- Response to the misguided petition by Equality Now and allies attacking sex worker human rights and the decriminalisation of sex work
- ‘UN Women Note on Sex Work, Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking’
- Global Commission on HIV and the Law’s report, ‘HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health’