Work at Sonke

Sex Workers’ Rights Project Specialist

About Sonke

With offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Eastern Cape in South Africa, and Kampala, Uganda, Sonke works globally, and especially across Africa, to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to take action to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. In this way the organisation contributes to the development of societies in which men, women, youth and children can enjoy equitable, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of just and democratic societies.

About this position

Sonke is seeking to employ a Sex Workers’ Rights Project Specialist. The Specialist is responsible for carrying out project activities housed within Sonke’s Policy, Development and Advocacy Unit (PDA) in relation to the rights of sex workers. The incumbent will be supervised by the PDA Unit Manager.

Key Functions:

1. Advocacy and budget management

  • Manage Sonke’s policy advocacy work pertaining to decriminalisation of sex work and the advancement of the rights of sex workers on a national level.
  • Manage the budget and ensure the project deliverables are implemented timeously.
  • Advocate for the improved implementation of legislation and policies that protect and promote the rights of sex workers and pursue the reform of legislation that discriminates against them.

2. Campaign work

  • With partner organisations, participate in collaborative campaigns which entails:
    1. Monitoring complaints emanating from partner organisations related to human rights abuse on sex workers.
    2. Building an evidence base for advocacy on decriminalisation.
    3. Participating actively in monthly Asijiki Coalition meetings, as well as the annual AGM, including participating in other relevant coalitions (GBV), building their advocacy footprint and influence.
  • Participate in the ‘Criminal Records Coalition’ to collect data in relation to criminal records negative impact on sex workers and advocating for law reform.

3. Monitoring and collaboration

  • Monitor the implementation oftheNational Strategic Plan for HIV/TB and STI’s with regard to factors that affect the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS on sex workers.
  • Nurture relationships with relevant government departments, SANAC, women’s ministry, parliament and Commission for Gender Equality.
  • Lobby SAPS, the Department of Community Safety and other law enforcement agencies on constructive and respectful engagements with sex workers and clients.
  • Strengthen partnerships with the police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure more respectful relationships between stakeholders within the sex work industry and law enforcement agencies.

4. Publications and submissions

  • Produce parliamentary and other submissions to government on bills, policies and key issues pertaining to the human rights of sex workers.
  • Challenge stereotypes about sex workers and sex worker clients, and generate positive, contextualised and evidence-based popular news articles and social media posts on sex work, sex workers and sex worker clients.
  • Conduct a series of awareness and education dialogues through community media engagements on sex work related issues.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • A degree in social science or equivalent related to the position
  • A Master’s Degree with focus on subjects relating to gender, health and human rights is preferred but not essential
  • 1-2 years relevant experience in a related area
  • Familiarity with existing South African, regional and international laws and policies related to genderbased violence, HIV and AIDS
  • Familiarity with the functions and duties of relevant Chapter 9 Institutions and other relevant government departments and oversight bodies
  • Familiarity with strategies and programmes aimed at gender-based violence and protection of the rights of marginalised groups
  • Fluency in two South African languages
  • Willingness to engage with the media when required to

Competencies and Skills required

  • Ability to interact with staff at all levels, and communicate clearly and concisely with colleagues
  • Strong research, writing and analytical skills
  • Proposal and report writing skills
  • Drafting of press releases and social media posts
  • Ability to make presentations
  • Ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and work independently
  • Ability to prepare and give trainings and presentations
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Willingness to travel

Personal qualities required

  • Confident, assertive communicator who can work comfortably with diverse groups of people, across all levels and various forms of media
  • Attention to detail and displays a high level of integrity
  • Able to prioritise work and manage deadlines
  • Innovative and creative, able to see new opportunities
  • Planning and time management – meets deadlines
  • Reflective, open to learning and to self-care
  • IT proficiency in Word, Excel and Power Point


Cape Town


R420,000 total cost to company per annum

Closing Date

15 July 2020