Call for Applications: Art Action Academy

ARE YOU AN ARTIST OR CREATIVE PRACTITIONER? ARE YOU INTERESTED IN CHALLENGING PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS ABOUT SEX WORK IN SOUTH AFRICA? THEN YOU SHOULD APPLY TO ATTEND OUR ART ACTION ACADEMY IN MAY! The Center for Artistic Activism (C4AA), in collaboration with SWEAT – Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce and Sonke Gender Justice, invites artists (and creative practitioners of all kinds) interested in challenging dominant narratives about sex work to apply for a 5-day Art Action Academy to be held in Johannesburg from the 24th to 28th of May 2017. Many artists want to create work that has a social impact. Unfortunately, organizing a successful social-change campaign often isn’t part of an artist’s education. The Art Action Academy (AAA) will help socially-engaged artists make their work more impactful and better evaluate the effect of their work. Using a range of contemporary examples of organizing and activism from around the world, participants will study the ways cultural creativity has been employed for social change. We will explore ideas from cultural theory to cognitive science to mass communications. We will learn to apply these ideas through a mix of classroom style presentations and practical exercises designed to unlock our imaginations from the prison-house of the possible – and then to figure out how to make the impossible into reality, through new strategies and tactics. The workshop will culminate in a collaborative creative action on the 28th of May. The goal of the AAA is not merely to impart knowledge, but to access, organize and operationalize the creative, cultural and political resources possessed by artists themselves. In brief, the goal of the AAA is to have participants own their method to further develop as successful artists and effective activists. The workshop will be led by the Center for Artistic Activism and draw on the experience of SWEAT and Sonke in implementing creative activism in their advocacy to decriminalize sex work. Applicants should be based in South Africa and able to commit to participating for the full duration of the workshop. Travel, accommodation and meal costs for selected participants will be fully covered. Apply Online by the 10th of March This Art Action Academy is supported by the Open Society Foundations and Open Society Foundation for South Africa … Continue reading →

Job Opportunity: Sex Workers Human Rights Defenders

SWEAT is looking for Sex Workers Human Rights Defenders to be based in Durban (x1), East London (x1), Gauteng (x2) and Cape Town (x1). This person will work with the Advocacy and Law Reform Unit 5 days a week on a full-time basis (40 hours a week). The Human Rights Defender will be responsible for collecting data for all human rights violations of sex workers in their allocated province as well as following-up on specific cases. This will involve a lot of on the ground work – going out of the office to collect information and engaging stakeholders like the police and sex workers. The person should be/ is expected to have: High degree of accountability and ethics Ability to use a computer Must be able to write simple, clear reports Knowledge of human rights, and of the arguments for the decriminalisation of sex work Good communication skills – especially listening skills Must be able to build relationships with people and maintain them with respect, confidentiality and trust Ability to speak at least 2 South African Languages, including English If you have participated in any SWEAT/Sisonke trainings list them to your advantage Must be a sex worker C.V’s should be sent to and You can call 021 448 7875 and ask for Nosipho Vidima for more information. Alternatively please drop your C.V at your nearest SWEAT/Sisonke office. Applications Closing Date: 10 February 2017. If you have applied for this post and would like to confirm receipt of your CV, please call Nosipho Vidima by the 13th February 2017.  … Continue reading →

Evidence on Exit: A Seminar on Strategies for Transitioning out of Sex Work

Institutions, including faith-based organisations; sex worker co-operatives or groups; representatives of organisations, or institutions and companies that work with people who sell sex and have implemented strategies for economic alternatives and/or transitioning out of sex work are invited to attend the one-day seminar on Strategies for Transitioning out of Sex Work. When: 8 November 2016 Venue: Cape Town (TBA) Time: TBA Background SWEAT is supported by BMZ and in partnership with the ILO and SANAC is undertaking an exploration of South African projects that assist sex workers to implement alternative economic activities or who choose to transition out of sex work through economic empowerment programmes including business training and mentorship, access to markets as well as access to business loans. The project aims to strengthen strategies and provide evidence to support work in this area by engaging with what works in current programmes, engaging sex workers themselves in focus groups and through examinations of projects in South Africa as well as other countries which have reported on their strategies and outcomes. In particular the project will contribute to the Sex Work National Strategic Plan (2016 – 2019) which includes a package of care related to economic empowerment. Those interested in attending are invited to save the date, and send an email to to express their interest in attending. An open invitation will also be added to … Continue reading →

Press Release: Witbank Brigadier gives orders for the abuse of sex workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Witbank Brigadier gives orders for the abuse of sex workers Brigadier Delisewa Motha from the Klipfontein Police Station in Witbank, Mpumalanga enforces unlawful raids against sex workers. Sex workers in the Witbank area have reached out to Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) and Re-Action! to complain about the gross abuse they experience at the hands of police officers at the Klipfontein police station. On the 31st of August 2016, police officers raided 4 homes in Witbank which is believed to be used by sex workers as brothels. The police officers assaulted the residents, vandalised their property and arrested 16 women and a security guard. One home owner was also arrested when he went to the police station to enquire about the people arrested. According to sex workers in Witbank the situation has been escalating since May this year. Abuses committed by the police include unwarranted raids, physical assaults, unlawful arrests, detention and refusal of chronic medication as well as damage to property. Efforts by NGO’s to address the abuse of power on the part of police has only resulted in escalating the violence. “Often, when we draw attention to the abuse of power by police, we see a backlash and increased police action – these events is a clear example of this” says Sally Shackleton, Executive Director of SWEAT. One woman reported that the police officers ordered her to strip naked and walk around a taxi rank close by. Another alleged that the police entered her home, pepper sprayed her children and told them that their mother is a sex worker. Mosima Kekana, Attorney at WLC said “she was very distraught, and as an attorney I was shocked at the violence we are hearing about”. Attorney Rahlagane, hired by WLC to assist those held in custody, was also harassed by the police when he went to enquire about his clients. The officers raided his car “looking for condoms” and threatened to call his wife should they find condoms in his car. Brigadier Motha, the policeman giving orders for the raids to be carried out, told the attorney that he had better get a place close by as she will be “cleaning up the streets”. As a coalition of organisations working in health and rights, we are extremely concerned about the gross human rights violations that are being committed by the police. … Continue reading →