Southern Africa members

Country: Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance


To contribute to improved human rights status of sex workers by designing and implementing innovative, evidence based and cost effective advocacy campaigns capable of influencing public policy and practice in the field of Human Rights


Creating a society in which all sex workers are able to enjoy the fundamental rights and are free from violence and discrimination in Zimbabwe


  • To mobilise and capacitate sex workers on their health and legal rights (to know, own and advocate for their own rights)
  • To build a network of sex workers’ movement in the country and across the continent
  • To strengthen sex workers leadership through meaningful involvement at every level
  • To provide legal assistance to sex workers
  • Engagement in strategic litigation forums with stakeholders
  • Generate credible research on issues affecting sex workers that will inform them to develop their own responses


ZIMSWA founded in 2014 is an umbrella body of sex workers be it male, female and transgender sex workers in the country. Any member that identify as a sex worker in Zimbabwe can be a member of ZIMSWA. The registration process is ongoing and a board of trustees has already been identified.


SISONKE is a national organisation run by sex workers for sex workers in Botswana. Formed in April 2010, SISONKE brought together 20 sex workers from South Africa and Botswana. The founding members of SISONKE wanted to take responsibility for bringing change within the sex worker community and stand up for their rights.

Members are men and women from Botswana. Currently, a voluntary leadership team of seven sex workers heads SISONKE. The organisation is a nested partner within BONELA, an organisation that advocates for equal human rights for stigmatised groups.


SISONKE supports the call for decriminalising sex work because this will enable sex workers to access to fundamental rights of equality, self-esteem, privacy and free profitable movement. Sex work would be defined as legal employment, and this then means that sex workers will be protected by the same laws like other workers.



Sex workers face significant health risk within their profession. Specific risk stems from various factors of sex work. Workers often have knowledge about HIV/AIDS, STIs and safer sex practices, but do not always apply this knowledge. Sex work is stressful, which affects the health of sex workers, but support is often unavailable. Due to this inherent stress, some sex workers turn to alcohol and drugs as a coping strategy; however, this makes sex workers vulnerable to exploitation by clients. Within the current system, access to sympathetic clinics for health problems is difficult, and information about the dangers of drug and drug addiction is not readily available.


Sex workers face many dangers and difficulties from their clients. Sex workers may be faced with clients that want sex without a condom, and use violence to achieve their aims, stolen property, assault from clients, and harassment by police officers that may result in forced sexual activity by said officers.


The stigma of sex work often leaves sex workers very isolated to other sectors of society. Sex workers face stigma from communities, their families and the general public. This affects the quality of life of sex workers. The negative stigma can affect the ability of sex workers to find a place to stay, and also to find work outside the sex work industry. Sex workers also sometimes stigmatize themselves because they feel ashamed of the work they do. The poor conduct of a few sex workers can reflect badly on other sex workers.

SISONKE wishes to address these important issues through its work in promoting the rights of sex workers within Botswana.

SISONKE is the only movement that run by sex workers for sex workers.


  • Uniting sex workers
  • Improving sex workers living and working conditions
  • Fighting for equal access to rights
  • Building understanding and acceptance through open dialogue about sex work and improving relationships with the public


Respect for human rights for all sex workers.


To contribute to improved human rights status of all sex workers by designing and implementing innovative, evidence-based and cost effective advocacy campaigns capable of influencing public policy and practice in the field of human rights.


It is vital for sex workers to know what their rights are within the current legal system, understand how to access these rights, discern what resources are available, and understand how to take care of themselves and their colleagues when working.