President Museveni of Uganda today has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality bill which now becomes law. According to the president homosexuality is due to a person’s environment and not due to a person born homosexual and as such it [homosexuality] can be fought. The bill proposes a raft of measures to criminalise, stigmatise, victimise and intimidate anyone suspected of being homosexual or promoting homosexuality in any way. Prison sentences ranging from a few years to life imprisonment will be handed to those who are convicted under the new legislation.
Regional updates: Africa
Our members are listed on the left or you can click the red umbrellas on the map.
Regional Board Members
Phelister Abdalla (KESWA), Kenya
Patrick Fotso (Alcondoms Cameroun), Cameroon
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.
Following reports that the Botswana Government is planning to target, arrest and possibly deport sex workers in the country, several human rights organisations have come out to strongly condemn this move.
The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, in a statement, strongly denounced this campaign and called for an end of the campaign.
Media reports from several African countries indicate that sex workers are being unfairly targeted by authorities causing concern to sex workers rights activists across the region.
Reports from Ghana and Botswana show that police have been arresting sex workers and in some instances deporting some of them.
A study of sex workers in four African countries has found out that sex workers face gross human rights violations and abuse due to the criminal nature of their work.
‘Human rights abuses and collective resilience among sex workers in four African countries: a qualitative study’ released in early August by a team of researchers who talked to female, male and transgender sex workers in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, found that unlawful arrests and detention, violence, extortion as well as societal exclusion ‘had an extreme impact on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of this population.’
‘The majority of countries in the world have punitivelaws against sex work,’ the report states, ‘… virtually throughout Africa, this occupation is an explicit criminal offence.’
‘This criminalization and the intense stigma attached to the profession shapres interactions between sex workers and their clients, family, fellow community members, and societal structures such as the police and social services.’
‘In Her Heels’ is a sensitisation training tool that puts participants in sex workers' shoes – using story cards and different scenarios that are based on sex workers real life stories.
The narratives challenged the public to empathise and walk in the sex workers ‘high heels’ to reflect on stories of rape, abuse, shame.
At the launch participants were also asked to literally wear high heels (which were provided) before entering the 'In Her Heels' training space. Nearly a hundred people participated.
Tanzania should decriminalise consensual adult sex work by removing or modifying article 176(a) of the Tanzania Penal Code and 181(a) of the Zanzibar Penal Code, which criminalises sex work, as well as other laws related to sex work that may infringe on human rights, including laws on “harbouring prostitutes” and “living off the earnings of prostitution,” Human Rights Watch has said in a July 18 report.
PRESS RELEASE ON K24’s FEATURE, BWETA LA UHALIFU: NDOA HADAA
We, the undersigned, having noted with concern, the recent feature story by K24 TV’s Bweta La Uhalifu: Ndoa Hadaa, aired on Monday and Tuesday, July 8-9, 2013, at prime time, where they showed various sex work hotspots in Nairobi’s CBD, and having exposed the faces of some of the female sex workers and their clients, including their lodgings, wish to condemn the blatant exposure of the persons featured in this documentary by K24 and general content and messaging of the feature.
• The disregard by the journalists and producers by showing, on live television, the faces of women who sell sex thereby exposing them to risk such as beatings, rejection, shame and discrimination.
• The use of tricks by the show’s producers to blackmail and entice the sex workers into giving their personal stories and using hidden cameras, to capture faces and locations, is also suspect and in clear violation of journalism ethics and practices.
• The decision to show public exposure by some of the sex workers on live television was demeaning and dangerous to young persons who watch the show.
ACCRA, GHANA - USING INNOVATIVE outreach and targeted counselling, peer educators have helped bring about a nearly 30 percent drop in HIV infection rates among Ghana’s sex workers over the past six years.
Thanks to effective campaigns by groups like The West Africa Program to Combat AIDS and STI (WAPCAS), HIV prevalence among female sex workers in Ghana fell from 37.8% in 2006 to 25% in 2009, then further to 11.2%, two years later, according to the National AIDS Commission.
Because sex work is illegal in Ghana, females engaged in the trade are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse which they cannot report because they have little legal recourse.
TANZANIAN POLICE torture, rape and assault sex workers, sexual minorities and drug users, while medical staff deny them healthcare, undermining efforts to reduce HIV infection, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Tuesday.
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) appointed a new Regional Coordinator, Daughtie Ogutu in November.
Daughtie stated on her appointment:
'I am looking forward to a wonderful, fulfilling experience at ASWA. My dream is to take ASWA to a level that is unimaginable, explore a platform and arena where sex workers issues are tabled and discussed without frowned faces and prejudices. My dream is to have an African sex workers movement that is recognized a world leader and agent of change and has the power to influence through collective action and responsibility. I endeavour to build a PanAfrican Sex Worker leadership team that is guided by feminist principles.'
You cna read all of her opening words on the ASWA website here.