Sex workers project Tanzania

We believe that the end of AIDS is possible if there is more focus on key populations. Our project in Tanzania addresses barriers faced by the sex worker community related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Driven by community champions, we work to realize a strong sex worker-led movement that defends the human rights of sex workers; more supportive legal environment for sex workers; sex workers are empowered and listened to by the government; and increased access to comprehensive quality services.

Widespread but illegal

Tanzania (officially: the United Republic of Tanzania) is located within the Great Lakes region of East Africa. The country’s population was 51.82 million in 2014. While HIV prevalence among the general population has decreased in Tanzania, available data suggests it has increased among key populations, including sex workers. HIV prevalence among female sex workers female sex workers this is as high as 31.4% in Dar es Salaam. Sex work is widespread, but illegal. Stigma and discrimination create significant barriers for sex workers to seek and receive health services. Sex workers report being raped by police, teachers and religious and political leaders, some of whom also made derogatory public pronouncements about sex workers. Due to criminalisation, key populations often live in isolation and their human rights are often violated by state actors, such as police and healthcare staff. There is broad stigma and discrimination in society.

Sex workers claim a right-based HIV and SRHR response

Bridging the Gaps works with a Theory of Change approach. A Theory of Change is a description of a list of events that is expected to lead to a particular desired outcome. It is a visualization how change is believed to happen. In 2016, representatives of the sex worker community developed a Theory of Change that consists of short-,medium, and long term outcomes. The specified Theory of Change of the sex workers project describes how we plan to realize a strong sex worker-led movement that defends the human rights of sex workers; more supportive legal environment for sex workers; sex workers are empowered and listened to by the government; and increased access to comprehensive quality services.

Through innovation and by building on previous work, we will strengthen civil society organisations’ ability to:

1. We facilitate community development

  • Training sex worker-led organisation staff on SRHR, human rights and the law.
  • Conducting a policy review of policies that are discriminatory for sex workers.
  • Strengthening the organisational and network capacity of sex worker-led organisations.
  • Facilitating community development and registering sex workers in networks.

2. We advocate for the continuously strengthening of services and upholding human rights

  • Developing a system to collect and document human rigths violations.

3. We deliver inclusive, rights-based and gender sensitive services

  • Enhancing greater awareness of specific stigma and discrimination barriers faced by key populations and key populations living with HIV when accessing services.
  • Promoting greater community demand for and integration between HIV, sexual and reproductive health services for key populations.
  • Conducting outreach to sex workers venues and distribute information and commodities related with SRHR, safer sex and HIV and STIs.
  • Strengthening health referral and linkages systems.
  • Providing comprehensive rights-based services.
  • Holding individual and group health sessions.

Our partners

Our project builds on the strong advocacy work of our partners  TASWA and North Star Alliance to put LGBT people’s health issues on the political agenda and to provide rights-based health services. Their work is internationally supported by Aidsfonds and GNP+.

Our other projects in Tanzania

Bridging the Gaps also has a LGBT people project in Tanzania.