The sex worker and LGBT members, under the coordination of Weka Organisation, are joining women all over the world to commemorate March 8th, International Women’s Day, which celebrates the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of all women in their diversities.
A lot of effort and progress has been registered at the local, regional, and international levels towards achieving gender equality, empowering women and elevating women politically, economically and socially.
However, in a country where sex work is criminalized, female sex workers in their diversity are not free to fully enjoy equalities in all the sustainable global goals. The criminalization of sex work imposes a barrier for all female sex workers in their diversities to attain social, economic and political equality and exposes them to violations of their human rights.
The UN women Theme: Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow with the hashtag, #Breakthebias has come at the right time especially when COVID-19 elevated the inequalities among marginalized women.
According to the police crime report 2020, released in 2021, a total of 16,257 persons were victims of Sex Related crimes, out of whom, 14,320 were female juveniles, 202 were male juveniles, 1,632 were female adults and 103 were male adults. This shows that women and girls face even more sexual violence. These figures only show a small sample of documented cases but many are not reported and not documented.
Many sex workers and other women fail to report cases of violation because of the operational injustices in the country that still criminalize sex worker and marginalizes women in general.
As the sex work and LGBTI Organisation in Uvira, we challenge the social, economic, cultural and structural barriers that continue to cripple female sex workers in their diversities, leaving them more vulnerable to inequalities. The fear to be judged, arrested for sex work and unnatural offences for the Trans sex workers can only be stopped by decriminalizing sex work and breaking the bias that female sex workers are less than everyday women. Acknowledging that sex work is work and granting sex workers equality in accessing health care, accessing justice, leadership positions, and labour rights, just like other jobs.
It is important to note that Weka Organisation, through its mission and other activities, advocates for the establishment of national plans of actions and strategies that take gender issues fully into account, especially the inclusion of women sex workers and LGBTI in decision-making platform for policies, plans, actions and programs with the intention of integrating all categories of women and LGBTI in all spheres of life should be implemented at the national level to boost the development of women and LGBTI in Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo in particular.
Happy Women’s Day!!