STUDY: Sex Workers In Africa Face ‘Profound’ Exploitation and ’Repeated’ Human Rights Violations | Global Network of Sex Work Projects
The report further explored the impact of HIV and how most socities view sex workers in regards to HIV transmission. ‘The legal status of sex work and the entrenched stigma and discrimination associated with the profession in Africa means that sex workers have historically beenviewed as “reservoirs of sexually transmitted disease”, and blamed for the continent’s HIV crisis.’
The report also looked into reasons why people engaged in sex work. ‘Although many were driven to sell sex to escape severe poverty and unemployment, several sex workers reported that the work was attractive because it had given them financial independence and the ability to improve their economic circumstances.’ One participant in the study said: “My money comes right there and then, unlike other jobs where the money will come late” Another stated: “I manage my own business – my money is not taxed.”
The money acquired from sex work is used for various purposes, inclusding paying school fees, support family members, among toehrs, the report said. ‘A few used money from sex work to create alternative income-earning ventures, such as buying sewing machines or additional land to rent, or opening a bar.’
Apart from societal stigma, equally common was physical abuse by police, often taking extreme forms. Virtually all sex workers interviewed had experienced being beaten and assaulted by police at some point in their working lives.
While gang rape perpetrated by clients was distressingly common, gang rape by police and related authorities was also reported.
‘Our research found that these individuals frequently take advantage of sex workers’ vulnerable position and the illegality of sex work to extort money or sex.’