African Sex Workers Speak Up

At the beginning of Februrary, I blogged here about the first sex worker-organized conference happening in Africa. The conference was attended by more than 150 sex workers, who produced a press statement and declaration about the status of sex workers and human rights in Africa.

Here’s a the beginning of the press release: 

When our governments are campaigning for our votes they say “vote for us and we will deliver.” We have voted but our governments have not delivered. We try to raise our voices about human rights violations that we face on a daily basis, no one listens. Once we have voted they forget us. From our government we need law reform and the decriminalisation of sex work so that we have the spaces to access our rights. We demand rights and not rescue.

As 153 sex workers from 10 African countries: South Africa, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Namibia and Nigeria. Today we demand our governments to honour their agreement that every citizen has human rights, and give us the rights that we are entitled to as human beings. Your citizens are speaking, you have a duty to listen and act.

You can download the whole press release/declaration, as well as a PDF of the January 2009 report Human Rights are for Everyone: Why Sex Work should be decriminalised in South Africa from the International Women’s Health Coalition blog, Akimbo. The documents are well worth reading, if only because their energy and anger is intense and awesome.

One Response

  1. Ooh, thanks for the information on this, Audacia. I’ve been searching for info about African and Latin American sex worker groups since they seem to be underrepresented in coverage.

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