HELPLINE: 0800 60 60 60

Sex worker rights are human rights

SWEAT has determined the discussions on a legal adult sex work industry where sex work is acknowledged as work, and where sex workers have a strong voice, which informs and influences wider social debates.

SWEAT has campaigned for the inclusion of sex workers as respected and valued members of society.



SWEAT has a 20-year history in organising sex workers, advocating for and delivering services to South African Sex Workers. We have facilitated birth of two movements – a Pan African Alliance of sex workers (African Sex Worker Alliance) and a national movement of sex workers called Sisonke. ASWA is now an independent organisation based in Kenya, and Sisonke is moving towards its own independence in South Africa. Our vision is: A South Africa where people who choose to sell sex are able to enjoy freedom, rights and human dignity. SWEAT uses an evidence informed human rights based approach to address sex workers’ health. We embrace the concept of wellness – which requires the active participation of sex workers in becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness goes beyond merely the absence of disease – it includes physical, mental, and social well-being.


In the early 1990’s SWEAT was founded by Shane Petzer, a male sex worker and Ilse Pauw, a Clinical Psychologist. Together they sought to establish a safe sex education project for adult sex workers capturing the excitement and hope that went with the transition from apartheid to democracy and a constitution respecting human rights.


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Head Office

Provincial Offices


Eastern Cape



HELPLINE: 0800 60 60 60

SMS “PLEASE CALL ME”: 071 357 7632