The impact of COVID-19 on sex workers in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated communities across Africa. It has disrupted means of livelihoods, strained health services and heightened human rights violations. Sex workers are among the worst impacted by both the pandemic and the response.

Prior to the pandemic, most governments were unresponsive to the needs and human rights of sex workers. Presently, in their responses to the pandemic, sex workers are invisible and have been left out of government support systems, prevention tools, treatment and resources.

Recently, ASWA carried an online survey to establish the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers.

Some of the responses from 29 respondents is captured before.

What do you think are the priority needs for sex workers during these Covid 19 pandemic?

“We need nutrition support for us living with HIV – We have issues with housing most of us the crisis found us in lodges and we lack money to pay the lodge managers. – Support in delivering ARVS to those living with HIV.  Reduction in the increasing violations on sex workers.”

 “Capacity strengthening, nutrition and health support on universal health coverage. Communication and data. Access to commodities and right information. Systems to respond to violence, support and follow up.”

“New programs like financial management and economic empowerment need to be added in sex work programing because sex workers need this in the future because of the effects of COVID-19.”

“Psycho-social support for sex workers and their children.”

Some of the findings below.

On behalf of our membership spread across 34 countries in Africa, ASWA would wish to raise an alarm and action alert to governments, multi-lateral and bilateral donors, the civil society and other humanitarian agencies to step in to stem the unfolding catastrophe

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