Coalition Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre pour le travail du sexe (CAfOC-TS) have issued a statement reporting on the human rights abuses and violence experienced by sex workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in francophone African countries.
CAfOC-TS – which is made up of organisations including UMANDE, And Soppeku, Blety, AFAZ - Association Femme Amazone, Alcondoms Cameroun, YERELON+, and HODSAS – work to address the problems faced by French speaking sex workers in Central and West Africa.
The CAfOC-TS statement reports instances of public beheading in Cameroon; acts of rape and sexual violence; the total exclusion of sex workers from government and civil society organisations' support; a lack of attention to the specific needs of Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS; and difficulty of movement due to the restrictive measures put in place by countries, which do not take into account the migratory movements of sex workers.
CAfOC-TS denounces the violence and human rights abuses against sex workers and calls for consistent support for the actions of CAFOC-TS, through its member organisations.
CAfOC-TS included a series of demands to governments in their statement, which include :
- The respect of human rights for all, including the rights of sex workers.
- To make provisions for the protection of sex workers.
- Demands that the Cameroonian government take measures to protect sex workers living in the English-speaking zone who are beheaded in the street, and that sanctions be issued.
They also included requests directed at technical and financial partners to :
- Support the CAfOC-TS Strategic Plan through its strategies for strengthening the health and protection of the rights of sex workers during COVID-19.
- Lobby country governments for the improvement of human rights in French-speaking regions in Central and West Africa.
- To improve the quality of sustainable funding for CAfOC-TS and its members.
The full statement is available below in English and French.