African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) supported by Frontline AIDS conducted an e-training on building capacity among sex workers in Africa to respond to violence. The participants were drawn from the following countries; The Gambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Sierra-leone and Namibia. The training also highlighted how the COVID-19 deepened the structural & systemic violence for sex workers in Africa.
Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) was defined, Categories of Violence were listed, the roots of SGBV were listed as inequality, discrimination, gender stereotype and marginalization. Sex workers were urged to be reporting, follow up on the reported cases making sure they are justly responded to and documenting all violence cases.
The participants were introduced to the Sex Workers Murder Monitoring Tool (SWOMUTO) which was developed in order to systematically monitor, collect and analyse reports of murders and other violations of sex workers in their diversity in the African continent.
On mental health, it was discussed that mental health problems are highly prevalent on sex workers and are strongly associated with common risk factors such as violence, poverty, low education, violence, alcohol and drug use, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and stigma and discrimination. These overlapping vulnerabilities highlight the urgent need for interventions designed to improve the mental health and well-being of sex workers.