Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC)

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Who do you work with?

Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC), found by champions of sex worker leaders and Activists to support the rights of sex workers to strengthen a vibrant national and sustainable sex workers' movement in Uganda. The alliance exists to promote the role of sex worker-led drop-in centres/CBOs especially upcountry based in driving the response to programs that support sex workers' efforts to overcome stigma and discrimination and other human rights violations fuelled by criminalization and cultural norms attached to sex work. The alliance’s mission is "to strengthen a unified, vibrant national and sustainable sex workers’ movement calling for an enabling environment and scale up of access to comprehensive HIV/TB/SRHR including viral load and PrEP services for sex workers.

How are sex workers involved in your organisation?

AWAC was found by champions of sex worker leaders and Activists to support the rights of sex workers to strengthen a vibrant national and sustainable sex workers' movement in Uganda and sex workers are involved at all levels for example AWAC employees 4 sex workers at the secretariat, 4 sex workers seat on board representing four regions in Uganda, 5 sex workers seat on the Advisory Committees and AWAC's direct beneficiaries are sex workers.

Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face

Sexwork is rarely recorganised as legitimate work and sex workers face poor working conditions and lack legal protection.
Sexworkers are routinely excluded from designing programme and policy frameworks that affect them resulting in inappropriate responses that fail to recognize sex workers as agents in their own lives.

Describe other areas of your work

Programmes and policies for sex workers are often based on assumptions, substandard research and ideology not evidence with sex workers routinely excluded from developing programmes and policies that affect them.
Unethical research and interventions, particularly in the context of HIV
It is difficult to practice sex work without breaking a law at some level. This increases the vulnerability of sex workers to criminalization.
Sexworkers are particularly vulnerable to violence and other abuses which are often perpetrated by state officers or facilitated by lack of legal and social protection.
Sex workers lack access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health services.