News | 8 Nov 2021
NACOSA was honoured to join SANAC, the SANAC Civil Society Forum, the Departments of Health and Justice, the Global Fund, the United Nations Population Fund and the Sisonke sex worker movement at the launch of the second National Sex Worker HIV, TB and STI Plan 2019-2022 (NSWP 2019-2022). The plan builds on the strengths of the first Sex Worker HIV Plan (2016-2019), addressing gaps identified over the past three years and supports the call for the decriminalisation of sex work. The NSWP 2019-2022 also introduces several improvements to address the challenges in delivering available, accessible, acceptable and quality HIV, TB, and STI services for sex workers.
To cries of “Nothing about us, without us!”, the involvement of civil society and the sex worker sector in the development of the plan, was heartily welcomed. Along with Sisonke, a number of sex workers joined the launch remotely, supported by organisations like TB/HIV Care and Hlokomela, who implement NACOSA’s Sex Work Programme funded by the Global Fund.
The plan reconfirms the pledge for decriminalisation and provides clear direction on the need for law reform and the evidence supporting it. The National Sex Worker HIV, TB and STIs Plan also introduces new national strategies to reduce gender-based violence and human rights violations against sex workers.
Sex workers continue to be the subject of human rights violations, gender-based violence, ill-treatment by law enforcements and the public, as well as extremely high levels of stigmatization and discrimination. The new plan therefore sets out goals that are grounded in human rights principles.
The Goals of the new plan are:
The plan furthermore recognises that certain sub-groups of sex workers are more at risk, are more stigmatised and are more hidden, such as male and transgender sex workers. Reaching these groups and enrolling these sex workers in care requires specialised strategies to find and engage them.