HomeNews‘End violence against sex workers’

‘End violence against sex workers’

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BY PATRICIA SIBANDA

THE Centre for Sexual Health, HIV and Aids Research (CeSHHAR) yesterday expressed concern that cases of violence on sex workers were escalating.

CeSHHAR told delegates during the commemoration of the World Sex Workers Day last week that in some instances, violence on sex workers led to loss of lives, adding that there was need to end criminalisation of sex work.

CeSHHAR key populations director Primrose Matambanadzo said one of the challenges that sex workers experience was stigmatisation.

She said 10,5% of sex workers in 2017 having experienced violence from the police, while 33,7% of them experienced violence from paying partners and 51,4% experienced violence from steady partners.

“We are advocating for an end to violence against sex workers in Zimbabwe and the world over,” Matambanadzo said.

“We would like to draw people’s attention to the fact that there is a hotline whereby sex workers who experience violence can call to make reports. There are also services provided by CeSHHAR to assist sex workers experiencing violence,” she said.

She said CeSHHAR also worked with government and ran the National Sisters With a Voice programme for female sex workers on behalf of the Health ministry and the National Aids Council in an attempt to ensure there are safe spaces for sex workers in order to reduce cases of
violence.

“Structural barriers including economic and social inequity, sexual and gender-based violence, stigma, discrimination and harassment increase sex workers’ vulnerability. Sex workers’ experiences of gender-based violence inhibits access to services, increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection and is associated with lower anti-retroviral (ART) use and ART adherence, “ she said.

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