Hands Off! Sex Work Mozambique Pathfinder

Hands Off! Sex Work Mozambique Pathfinder


Sex workers who operate in settings where sex work is criminalised face increased risk of violence. The goal of the Hands Off! project is to reduce violence against sex workers in Mozambique. Under Hands Off!, Pathfinder International will support Tiyane Vavassate, the sex worker-led organisation, with strengthening the fairly young sex worker movement in Mozambique. Tiyane Vavassate will provide health and human rights education for sex workers during outreach activities. Peer educators and paralegals will be trained in providing support to sex workers. By establishing referral systems and identifying sex worker friendly services sex workers will have an increased access to health and legal services.

Project details

Time frame
31 December 2014 - 31 December 2018
€ 305,000
Active in


Hands Off! partners aim to reduce violence against sex workers through (sustainable) prevention, care and support. If sex workers are empowered and supported at individual and community level, (potential) allies are strengthened to respond to violence against sex workers and regional capacity and knowledge to promote sex workers’ rights is build then an enabling and supportive environment is created for sex workers' rights. Outcomes of Pathfinder International and Tiyane Vavassate include a strong sex worker movement in Mozambique, allies in support of the legislation reform on sex work issues and increased access to necessary services for sex workers.

Community groups

12.000 sex workers will be reached over the project period. Within 11 provinces sex workers will have increased access to legal support. Sex workers will have access to a hotline, hosted by the government and operated by sex workers. Around 15 sex workers will be trained as trainers in health, rights and safety and responsible for the roll out the training over the country. 25 police officers will be able support sex workers where needed.


Mozambique is one of the few countries in the world without a legal position on sex work. And although sex work is not criminalised by Mozambican law, the law penalises assaults on public decency, like having sex in a public space or dressing indecently. The absence of legislation leaves sex workers without the right to claim basic human and health rights and leaves them subject to abuse and exploitation.

HIV prevalence among sex workers in Maputo is estimated at 31 percent. HIV prevalence rates are associated with excessive alcohol consumption and limited condom use. In 2013, 30 percent of annual new HIV infections occurred within networks of sex workers. The Hands Off! needs assessment shows that 70 percent of sex workers experienced violence in the past year.


Everyone living with HIV worldwide receives treatment
Contributed within this project
Awareness, support in society, and full funding of the AIDS and STI response
Contributed within this project
< 200,000 new HIV infections globally
Contributed within this project

Contact person

Ingeborg van Beekum

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