Who/What is Asijiki?
Asijiki is a group of sex workers, activists, advocates and human rights defenders who advocate for law reform for the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa. Becoming a supporter is open to organisations and individuals and targeted at members of civil society from all sectors including gender, women’s rights, human rights, legal and public health.
Asijiki Coalition’s principal aim is the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa. Currently, full criminalisation is the law – this has been in place since 1957, with clients being specifically criminalised since 2007. This has resulted in high levels of violence, a lack of access to basic services including health services and abuse of sex workers, including by police officers.
The decriminalisation of sex work would allow sex workers to function within a human rights framework, as it would entail the following:
- the removal of criminal charges against sex workers
- the operation of brothels and individual sex workers as ordinary businesses
- the ability to implement laws protecting sex workers from special risks
- the minimizing of discrimination and stigma around sex work, which will in turn enable sex workers to access basic services more easily
- the potential reduction of abuse, together with increased reporting to the police
- The Coalition’s main objective is to work together with the aim of obtaining law reform for the full decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa through advocacy and litigation.
- The Coalition’s secondary objectives include:
- Conduct advocacy to highlight the impact of criminalisation on sex workers health, human rights and limited access to services;
- Advocate for the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa;
- Promote, protect and defend the human rights of sex workers in South Africa;
- Support strategic impact litigation instituted by supporter organisations that advocate and enforces sex workers human rights;
- Challenge the negative stereotypes of sex workers and build the capacity of sex worker’s to advocate for human rights and the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa; and
- Garner support of community members and the state by networking and raising awareness of the benefits of the decriminalisation of sex work.
The standing steering committee entities are:
- Sonke Gender Justice
- Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)
- Sisonke (National Sex Workers Movement in South Africa)
- The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC)
- Independent Sex Worker Representative
Sonke Gender Justice is a non-profit, human rights and social justice organisation that strives to achieve gender equality in South Africa by building capacity and mobilising communities. Sonke works to create the change necessary for women, men, young people and children to enjoy equitable, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of just and democratic societies. Sonke works across Africa to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence, and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS.
SWEAT has a 20-year history in organising sex workers, advocating for and delivering services to South African Sex Workers. SWEAT uses an evidence informed human rights based approach to address sex workers’ health; envisioning a South Africa where people who choose to sell sex are able to enjoy freedom, rights and human dignity. SWEAT’s core objective is for sex work to be decriminalised in South Africa.
Members of Asijiki
- ACMS University of the Witwatersrand
- African Natural Medicine
- AIDS Health Foundation
- AIDS Legal Network
- Amnesty SA
- Be Care
- Copying Centre
- Child line South Africa
- Civil Society Uthungulu
- Doctors without borders(MSF)
- Gender Equality
- Gender Dynamix
- Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church
- Legal Resources Center
- Lethithemba Foundation
- Lifeline Durban
- Lifeline Free State
- National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS
- People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA)
- Rape Crisis
- Rethabong Legal Advice Centre
- Sexual Reproductive Justice
- Women on farms
- Women & Democracy