Violence is a key factor in the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV/AIDS. Violence prevents sex workers from accessing valuable information, support and services that help to protect them from HIV/AIDS. With the Hands Off! programme Aids Fonds (www.aidsfonds.nl/handsoff!) and partners aim to reduce violence against sex workers in Southern Africa. The programme, a regional response, offers a comprehensive and joined-up approach to working with sex workers, police, law enforcement and service providers in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Sex workers in Mozambique face unacceptable levels of violence, stigma, discrimination and other human rights violations, leaving them considerably more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. To secure the safety and well being of sex workers in Mozambique, it is important to have clearly articulated support for sex workers by government and NGOs. In addition, training and sensitization of law enforcement workers is required to ensure increased protection and safety for sex workers. A well functioning rapid response system to assist sex workers with cases of violence is also needed.