A sex worker-led community-based organization known as ‘ Greater Women Initiative for Health and Right (GWIHR) has vowed to subsist it’s determination to ensuring the health of sex workers, strengthening their voices and supporting State actions that would check sex trafficking in the society.
The Executive Director ( ED) Mrs Josephine Aseme who made this known yesterday during a one-day sensitization workshop GWIHR organized for sex workers and the community of stakeholders, faulted some media reports that stated that sex workers’ jobs are “indecent or sexual promiscuous acts” describing such infodemics as derogatory and unacceptable to GWIHR.
She recalled that GWIHR had on 13th July 2022 organized a sexism meeting for sex workers and media practitioners at Umuahia, Abia State capital “to counter such unacceptable media reports about sex workers especially choice of language in reporting issues of sex workers that would be contrary to GWIHR stand on the matter”.
Rather than tag Sex workers job as indecent/promiscous act, the GWIHR ED who explained “the income-generating skill acquisition program created by GWIHR only widens the scope and range of choices for economic livelihood for sex workers and is not a medium of luring sex workers away from sex work, as the decision to exit sex work and change business is a thing of personal choice and decision”.
She further enlightened the participants on the impact of gender stereotypes, gender equality/equity, stigma, and discrimination and how it has fueled violence, targeted sex workers, and increased vulnerability to HIV and urged the Media practitioners to be aware of the danger of misinformation in our society hence they should use their platform to condemn all stereotypes and misinformation.
The Sex Workers while sharing their lives experiences citing violence and lack of inclusion in the state government schemes and opportunities, most especially during COVID-19, urged the government to recognize their fundamental human rights and support them by creating opportunities to improve their wellbeing and security.
Specifically, the ED urged the Ministries of Women Affairs to include sex workers in their program designs stressing that hence the majority of sex workers are women, they should be recognized by the institution and also support GWIHR’s efforts to create a safer environment for sex workers and their children, create programs that will help sex workers make informed choices rather than stigmatizing and discriminating against them.