Sex Worker-led Organisations in DRC Issue Statement in the Wake of Escalating Violence Against Sex Workers

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UMANDE, HODSAS and ACODHU-TS

UMANDE, HODSAS and ACODHU-TS have released a statement addressing an upsurge of acts of violence against sex workers in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This new statement follows others that have so far been ignored by the Congolese government.

Despite statements, petitions, and alerts, UMANDE, HODSAS and ACODHU-TS note that women sex workers are everyday victims of violence from people in uniform including soldiers and police. These acts include rape, sexual and physical violence. The ststament highlights the most recent case of violence which occurred when a Congolese Armed Forces Commander ordered soldiers to beat up a sex worker who refused to have sex with him without a condom in a mining area in Bendera. You can read a news report on the incident here.

UMANDE, HODSAS and ACODHU-TS denounce the violence and human rights abuses of which the sex workers of DRC are victims and call for support to the actions of UMANDE and ACODHU-TS through their member organisations for the protection of the sex workers in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The statement concludes with demands for the Congolese state, to UMANDE’s partners, and to sex workers.

To this end, we demand that the Congolese state

  • To protect women and transgender sex workers working in the mining area and in the mining towns;
  • Social, legal, but especially humanitarian assistance must be provided to the victims;

To UMANDE's partners

  • To support urgent legal and medical assistance to women sex workers;
  • To support the psychosocial accompaniment of the sex worker victim;
  • To reinforce and accompany the activities of UMANDE.

To sex workers:

  • To avoid dangerous, risky areas and to share information through social security network groups and mapping of risky areas;
  • To share, disseminate and join the UMANDE WhatsApp group;
  • To reach the nearest health post within 72 hours for holistic care.

The full statement is available below in English and French.