Terms of Reference

Research on impact of interventions with Sex Workers and the South African Police Services


Sonke Gender Justice (SGJ) is a womxn’s rights organisation that is committed to feminist principles, using a rights-based and gender-transformative approach to achieve human rights and gender justice

The Sex Worker Rights’ Project within SGJ focusses on, inter alia, working within partnerships and coalitions to advocate and lobby for the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa. Discrimination and violence have an adverse impact on the safety, health, and well-being of many sex workers, and ultimately compromise their socioeconomic advancements and development. This Project is therefore seeking the services of a consultant to conduct a research study and produce a report over July and September 2022 as outlined below.

Research Brief

SGJ is a member of the Positive Policing Partnership (PPP), a collective of organisations working towards supporting innovative civil society, policing and government collaborations aimed at positive change in the operational policing experiences of sex workers. The core of the PPP is around reframing advocacy strategies and engagements, particularly with policing authorities, from largely adversarial approaches towards more positive and forward-looking strategies.

SGJ has secured funding to begin to evaluate the impact of various inputs by the PPP as well as by other stakeholders towards addressing sex work sector and police engagements. These inputs include:

  1. Source documentation from the PPP outlining the approach and various interventions.
  2. The training that continues to be facilitated by staff from Sisonke, the National Sex WorkersMovement, and the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), utlising the Dignity andDiversity Policei training manual (DDP); and
  3. The impact of the Police Standard Operating Procedure in relation to sex workersii , that the PPPhad input to.

Sonke Gender Justice therefore seeks:

  1. To evaluate with a group of sex workers in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and in the Western Cape (WC) if there have been any noted shifts in police behavior towards them between 2020 and 2021, and to canvas awareness of the PPP, the police training initiative, as well as the SOP;
  2. To evaluate any attitudinal shift in a small cohort of police that were engaged in the DDP training related to sex work in the same period;
  3. To evaluate the experiences of facilitators from Sisonke and SWEAT when engaging with, and facilitating, training with police, utilising the DDP manual, and documenting any recommendations arising; and
  4. To explore the impact of the SOP related to sex workers within 2 and 3 above.

Proposed Process

  1. Sex Workers will be interviewed in two provinces, namely Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Western Cape, on their experiences of their interactions with police during the period 2020-2021. In addition, there will be a focus on canvasing sex worker’s awareness of the SOP, the police training initiative, and the PPP itself.The researcher will partner with Sisonke, the National Sex Worker Movement in South Africa, to develop the research tools, it is envisioned that this will consist of desktop research, a questionnaire, as well as focus group discussions and Sisonke would be responsible for all the field work. Total sample size is 12-16 persons for the focus group discussions (6-8 per province) and a further 40 persons reached across the two provinces (20 in each) in individual interviews.
  2. Interviews with at least 10 police in the two provinces who had undergone the DDP training in relation to sex workers and to assess the impact of training in respect of any attitudinal shifts or change in behaviour towards sex workers. (If possible).
  3. Interviews with 4 trainers from Sisonke and 1 trainer from SWEAT regarding their experiences when engaging and facilitating training with police and any recommendations regarding developing the facilitation materials of the training further.

Some of the proposed core questions are:

Have there have been any noticeable changes/ shifts in behaviours of the police in their interactions with sex workers that can be attributed to the trainings that have been facilitated using the Dignity and Diversity Police training manual, the approach and interventions of the Positive Policing Partnership as well as the impact of the Police Standard Operating Procedure in relation to sex workers. The interviews with sex workers will be managed by Sisonke and would be focused on both the level of experiences with police when they are working and/or when they are reporting to police stations when they have been a victim or witness of a crime and/or sexual assault. It also includes treatment and conditions of detention at police station holding cells.

In addition, there will be a focus on surfacing any insights or knowledge sex workers interviewed have regarding the DDP training, the approach and work of the PPP and the SOP.

The successful consultant will be tasked to engage in some assessment of how the training has influenced the police as well as their level of awareness regarding the SOP related to working with sex workers.

The successful consultant will engage with the training facilitators from Sisonke and SWEAT regarding their experiences of facilitating training directly to police as well as to train the trainers. We would also like to explore their views of their facilitation content and the SOP as well as any recommendations for improvements.


Given that Covid resulted in a lockdown and changed circumstances during the period under review, this will impact as a major limitation, as there was, for example, increased visibility and activity of the police and law enforcement enforcing Covid regulations, as well as changed circumstances for sex workers, as their ability to work was impacted by the lockdown as well as the regulations. The disruption to facilitated training as well as the increased activity and duties imposed on the police as instructed by the State of Disaster should also be considered.


With this study, the successful consultant should help us to gain valuable material that can establish a baseline related to the impact of the PPP, as well as the DDP training to sex workers as facilitated by Sisonke and SWEAT. In addition, the evaluation should surface opportunities to be taken forward which will strengthen programming and further collaboration through the PPP.

Consultants scope of work

The consultant will be contracted by Sonke Gender Justice and will be expected to conduct the following:

  1. A pre-meeting with Sonke to set the timeline and proposed milestones.
  2. A literature review.
  3. Work closely with the Sonke, Sisonke Coordinator and Research Assistants to create andformulate the key questions and draw up the survey questionnaire and focus group discussionguide in relation to engagement with sex workers.
  4. Compile all responses completed during the focus groups and interviews with sex workers bythe research assistants in the field.
  5. Work closely with Sonke to create and formulate the key questions for a survey questionnairewith the police and conduct the survey and compile all responses.
  6. Work closely with the Sonke to create and formulate the key questions for survey questionnaire with the trainers and conduct the survey and compile all responses.
  7. Analyse the data and write up the study.
  8. Produce an interactive report with recommendations that will be widely distributed (Including infographics that can be developed into posters)


We are looking for an enthusiastic, skilled, and flexible consultant who has excellent research, coordination, and communication skills. The consultant should be familiar with the sex work sector and have experience in working with diverse groupings that face stigma and discrimination. Preferably we are looking for someone who is/has engaged in work around advocacy for legal and policy change and rights- based services with regards to sex work.

Requirements include

  • A degree in Human Rights, Law, Gender, Social Science, Social Policy, public health or other related field, or similar experiences;
  • Previous research experience;
  • Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in social policy and human rights;
  • Strong coordination, consensus building and facilitation skills;
  • Familiarity with sex workers’ networks and organisations;
  • Fluency in English; and
  • A sex worker or previous sex work experience, HIV+ or LGBTQIA+ person will beadvantageous.

How to apply

We are looking for someone who is available to start mid July 2022. A detailed timeline with milestones will be developed in close consultation with the successful consultant and will be part of the contract. The proposed budget for this consultancy is R60,000. Payment will be made in two tranches, one at the start and one at the end of the assignment, when all deliverables are handed in and approved by Sonke. You can apply by sending the following information by the 11th of July 2022 to Jayne Arnott at jayne@genderjustice.org.za.

  1. CV or resume demonstrating relevant expertise and experience;
  2. Motivation letter (max. 2 pages) that includes proposed activities;
  3. Proposed implementation timeline (max 1 page);
  4. Overview of total consultancy fee, including the number of days, daily rate, and operationalbudget for meetings.


July and September 2022


The proposed budget for this consultancy is R60,000

Closing Date

11 July 2022