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SALC Research Report: ‘They should protect us because that is their job’

a preliminary assessment of sex workers experiences of police abuse in lusaka zambia

Throughout the world, sex workers are vulnerable to and experience discrimination, stigma and violence in all spheres of their daily lives – including at work, public institutions, and facilities, and even amongst their families. In many instances, police officials perpetrate violence and abuse against sex workers and target them with the arbitrary and subjective enforcement of laws. The situation is no different for sex workers in Lusaka, Zambia. However, sex workers in Zambia are entitled to protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms including their human dignity.

SALC’s latest report “They should protect us because that is their job” is a preliminary assessment of sex workers’ experiences of police abuse in Lusaka, Zambia. The report aims to get a better understanding of the experiences of sex workers and their vulnerability in terms of discrimination, harassment and physical and sexual abuse by police officials. In particular, the research aims to establish from sex workers in Lusaka, Zambia, how police abuse has affected them. This preliminary assessment is primarily aimed at assisting the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) to develop relevant advocacy and litigation strategies to address the systemic abuse of sex workers by the police in Lusaka, Zambia.

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Download a full version of the report here.

Individual chapters:


Sex workers’ experiences of police

Holding police accountable

Conclusion and recommendations

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