Capacity Building of a Sex Worker Organisation

By Chivuli Ukwimi | November 29th, 2011

Botswana is experiencing one of the most severe HIV/AIDS pandemics in the world. In 2009, it was estimated that one quarter of the population was living with HIV. Research suggests that sex workers play a critical role in reducing the spread of the pandemic.

However, sex workers remain criminalised in Botswana, which results in stigma, and discrimination against them at the hands of health service providers. An additional problem is the police harassment that prevents sex workers from consistently accessing prevention and health care, ultimately fuelling HIV transmission.

The exclusion of sex workers, coupled with the lack of a human rights legal framework, will negate the success made in combating HIV/AIDS, and affect the realisation of the national goal of zero new infection by 2016.

This project aims to enhance the capacity of sex workers to play an active role in advocating for their human rights by analysing, and challenging, policies and laws that affect them.

The objectives that will help to realise this goal are, first, supporting the empowerment of sex workers to open up about violations of their rights, and assert their right for prevention, treatment, care and support services.

Another objective of this project is to raise awareness about the challenges faced by sex workers – regarding access to services – amongst health, and law enforcement, service providers.

Finally, this project seeks to establish key alliances, between the police and other key service providers, so as to provide sex workers with access to relevant legal and rights based services.

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