Hands Off! Sex Work Zimbabwe SRC

Hands Off! Sex Work Zimbabwe SRC


The goal of the programme is to reduce violence against sex workers in Zimbabwe. Under the Hands Off! programme Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) is supporting peer educators in addressing sex workers’ health, right and safety. Human rights violations will be documented and results will be used for advocacy on improved services and support for sex workers. Media personnel and health care workers will be sensitised in providing services to sex workers. Law enforcement agents will be sensitised in responding to human rights violations and in preventing violence against sex workers. SRC works with two sex worker-led organisations, Pow Wow and ZIMSWA and will support them in leading the sex worker movement.

Project details

Time frame
31 December 2014 - 30 July 2019
€ 476,602
Active in

Bulawayo, VicFalls, Plumtree, Siphezini/Oak

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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 build then an enabling and supportive environment is created for sex workers' rights. Specific outcomes of SRC include having a strong sex worker movement in Zimbabwe able to hold governments to account and increased access to health services and legal support for sex workers.

Community groups

Over 250 sex workers will be able to protect themselves when it comes to health, rights and safety. 7 peer educators will be responsible to provide training on health, rights and safety to their peers. Over 3.000 sex workers will be reached during outreach activities over the entire programme period. 150 health care workers will be enabled to prevent and respond to violence against sex workers.


Due to their position in society sex workers are vulnerable to physical, sexual and emotional violence from clients, police, the local community and their intimate partners. This ranges from beatings, robbery and rape to being arrested for carrying condoms and being arbitrarily detained or bribed. Working in a criminalised environment, sex workers are deprived from health and human rights. Violence is one of the most important factors affecting the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV/AIDS. Violence often causes inconsistent condom use and stops sex workers from accessing necessary (legal) support and health care.

HIV prevalence among sex workers in Zimbabwe is estimated at 38-70%. The Hands Off! needs assessment shows that 63% of sex workers experienced violence in the past year. Modelling estimates show that a reduction of almost 25% in HIV infections among sex workers may be achieved when physical or sexual violence is reduced.


< 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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