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Rights Not Rescue: A Report on Female, Male, and Trans Sex Workers’ Human Rights in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa

By: Open Society Foundations

The criminalization of sex work in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa leaves sex workers vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse, as well as extortion, from law enforcement officers such as police and border guards. Human rights violations and a lack of safe and supportive working conditions render sex workers particularly vulnerable to HIV. These are some of the findings of this report on the health and rights challenges confronted by female, male, and transgender sex workers in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.

The study is based on interviews and focus groups with 89 adults who have chosen sex work as their primary occupation. They work throughout the region on streets and highways, at truck stops, in brothels and agencies, or near mines and migrant settlements. Interviews were also conducted with 11 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the region that work with sex workers. In addition to documenting widespread human rights abuses against sex workers, the report describes innovative organizing tactics among sex workers to redress these rights violations. The report highlights opportunities for NGOs, governments, donors, and UN agencies to expand rights-based approaches to sex work that will ultimately improve the health and well-being of sex workers.

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Uploaded on: Apr 29, 2015
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2015
Year Published: 2009
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