Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers is observed annually on December 17 by sex workers, advocates, friends, families and allies. The day calls attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers worldwide, as well as the need to remove the social stigma and discrimination which contributes to violence against sex workers. Incorporated into this day is the red umbrella which is a recognised international symbol of Sex Worker solidarity and resistance.
On this day, the member sex workers and sister sex workers organisations pay attention to Anti-Pornography Act 2014, the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Act 2014 enacted by the Uganda Government, that deliberately target and put the lives of sex workers at risk. The Uganda government Anti-Pornography Act 2014, erroneously-named mini skirt Act, creates and reinforces the harms and violence experienced by sex workers under the previous laws criminalising prostitution in Uganda.
On this Day WONETHA would like to share that she has petitioned the constitutional court over the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Pornography Act (especially on definition) even after it had been withdrawn by the very parliament for revision two weeks after its enactment.
WONETHA also would like to reiterate that the HIV and AIDS recreate the harms allowing the epidemic of violence against sex workers to continue. The HIV Act views all person with HIV as potential criminals and given the HIV prevalence stands at 35% sex workers are bound to be victimised, stigmatised and discriminated by health workers, clients, police and other community members, rather than understanding that it is criminalisation, isolation, and the denial of rights and freedoms that breeds violence and exploitation against sex workers.
In solidarity with sex workers around the globe, the WONETHA calls for the full decriminalisation of sex work to ensure the safety, dignity and security of all sex workers and in recognition that enforcement of the Anti-pornography Act 2014 and HIV and AIDs Prevention and Management Act 2014 disproportionately targets most vulnerable women in community especially and sex workers.
WONETHA stands in solidarity with sex workers in Uganda and around the world in calling for:
- The expediting of the Constitutional Court Hearing of the WONETHA Court Petition 13 of 2014.
- Involvement of Sex workers in national HIV Policy, programming and monitoring - on the partnership committee and the Prevention Committee Uganda AIDS Commission.
- Strengthened partnership with the Ministry of Health and full participation on the MARPS committee.
- Involvement in National Gender Policy and programming and equal access to youth fund.
- Security and protection of sex workers from police raids, extortion and abuse.
- The de-stigmatisation and of sex work in Uganda.
- The recognition of the dignity and value of sex workers in Uganda.
- Parliament of Uganda initiation of debates on decriminalisation of Sex work in Uganda.