Hands Off! Sex Work Namibia Rights not Rescue Trust

Hands Off! Sex Work Namibia Rights not Rescue Trust


Rights not Rescue Trust (RnRT) is a fairly young organisation, therefore the project will focus on organisational capacity building in governance and linking. RnRT's board will be trained and the outreach programme will be closely linked to referral mechanisms for health and to legal counselling services. Paralegals, sex workers and eight outreach workers will be trained to provide community-led violence response. Furthermore, RnRT will advocate for human rights and will organise network meetings to strengthen the community response towards violence. These meetings will include representatives of traditional leaders, church leaders and the community at large.

Project details

Time frame
31 December 2014 - 30 July 2019
€ 149,900
Active in

Khomas region

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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 built then an enabling and supportive environment is created for sex workers' rights. Outcomes of RnRT's work will include a strong sex worker movement in Namibia, allies in support of the legislation reform on sex work issues and increased access to necessary services for sex workers.

Community groups

Over 25 sex workers will be trained on health, rights and safety. Around 25 people are will be reached through the Namibia Diversity Consortium meetings. Awareness activities on public commemoration days will reach many members of the general public, while network meetings will reach members of parliament, the president's office and other stakeholders.


Sex workers face high levels of violence, stigma, discrimination and other human rights violations due to their position in society. Sex workers are vulnerable to physical, sexual and emotional violence from clients, police, the community and their intimate partners. This ranges from beatings, robbery and rape to being arrested for carrying condoms and being arbitrarily detained or bribed. Violence often causes inconsistent condom use and stops sex workers from accessing necessary (legal) support and health care, making them considerably more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.

The needs assessment shows that 94% of the sex workers in Windhoek have experienced different forms of violence (physical, sexual, emotional and/ or economic). A strong correlation was found between being HIV positive and the amount of violence experienced. The research showed that 18,8% of the sex workers is HIV positive, while 12,7% indicated not to know their status or chose not to disclose their status.


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

Contact person

Ingeborg van Beekum

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