Sex workers continue to face criminalization, violence, discrimination and other forms of human rights violations which increase their risk of acquiring HIV.
Sex workers—female, male and transgender adults who have consensual sex in exchange for money or goods, either regularly or occasionally are among the populations that are being left behind in the HIV response. HIV prevalence among sex workers is 10 times higher than among the general population, and sex workers are poorly served by HIV services.
Many of the human rights challenges, vulnerabilities and barriers sex workers face in accessing HIV services are due to criminalization and the restrictive laws, regulations and practices they face. Selling and/or buying sex is partially or fully criminalized in at least 39 countries. In many more countries some aspect of sex work is criminalized, and in other countries general criminal law is applied to criminalize sex work (for example, laws against loitering and vagrancy).
In Africa, sex workers have remained discriminated and some have been banished from their communities, most of them have experienced psychosocial problems that has increased their risk of drug abuse and alcoholism.
Basing our arguments on that basis, Advocacy for women’s health support initiative has promoted civic education and awareness from engaging various stakeholders to uphold and respect the rights of Women including sex workers.
As a way of promoting sex workers’ rights, an Annual General Meeting was put in place to discuss the problems that sex workers face, the solutions to those problems and involving local leaders to have a say on women rights.
We therefore encourage society to uphold and respect the rights of all women regardless of there social status in society and that’s the reason we say “sex workers have rights too”.