African sex workers to march for their day as Zambia says no immorality here

Sex workers from Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe will on Wednesday march to demand their rights.
In Zambia, sex workers are complaining of police harassment and will not join the marching set for March 3. It is International Sex Worker Rights Day. The police in Zambia also say any immoral act is illegal in Zambia and will not be tolerated.
In the countries mentioned above, the sex workers who are members of the African Sex Worker Alliance will be marching for sex workers rights and holding events in 9 cities across Africa.
According to the march organisers, this event follows another historical moment in the fight for sex worker rights in 2009 when sex workers from Southern, Western and Eastern Africa came together to form a sex worker led African Sex Worker Alliance (ASWA), whose mandate is to lead the fight for sex workers’ rights in Africa.
To date the alliance is made up of 7 African countries; Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
“We call for access to health services and the ending of sex workers’ human rights violations. When we dare to be powerful, to go onto the streets and make our voices heard, we know there are those who will try to shame and ridicule us, with the hope that we will be isolated and silenced. But this won’t be the case!” says ASWA Regional Coordinator, Kyomya Macklean.
In Johannesburg South Africa, recently, members of the Sisonke Sex Workers Movement were shocked and saddened by the death of a colleague who was too afraid to report a serious assault by a hotel manager in Hillbrow .
“We visited her in December and encouraged her to lay a charge, in February we heard she was dead” recalls Kholi Buthelezi, National Sisonke Coordinator. “We are marching in Hillbrow on Thursday to make sure that this does not happen again and to remember the life of Itumeleng”
Sex workers in Limpopo province of South Africa called on the police and society to respect sex workers means of survival, and recognize sex work as work. “We will no longer be silenced – human rights are for everyone” said Mickey Meji, the African Sex Worker Alliance’s South African coordinator.
Sex workers will be offered masks to help protect them from stigma and abuse, and marchers will use red umbrellas to symbolize protection. Allies, friends and families of sex workers, as well as civil society organisations are invited to come and support marchers, states a statement made available to the Watchdog by the organisers.
In Lusaka Zambia, some sex workers are appealing to relevant authorities to help stop police harassment.
The sex workers told a local TV station, Muvi on Tuesday that police officers often harass them by arresting and charging them.
And when contacted for a comment, Police Service spokesperson, Ndandula Siamana said any immoral act is against the Zambian laws.
Ms. Siamana explained that the police will not allow lawlessness in the country to be the order of the day.

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