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CAMEF on Fighting HIV among LGBT Sex Workers in Cameroon by CAMEF
In a place where sex work is illegal and homosexuality is criminalized, CAMEF Cameroon fights against HIV among the LGBT sex workers --especially "Trans" sex workers-- in the South West Region (of Cameroon), considered to be hostile and homophobic in regards to these socially disadvantaged community groups
The Cameroon Empowerment Association for Outreach Programs CAMEF is a registered Non-Governmental Human Rights Defense organization, advocating for the interests of the socially disadvantaged community groups without distinction as to ones line of work, background, religion, race, or sexual preferences (LGBT SEX WORK COMMUNITY). The organization was created in the year 2010, so as to provide HIV-AIDS prevention information and services to the LGBT Community and Sex work community that have access to no information on HIV-AIDS prevention and other related services.
CAMEF’s head office was in Limbe, in the South West Region of Cameroon, an English-speaking section near the coast. CAMEF carried out outreach programs on Human Rights as well as Sexual Health and Prevention activities (Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights) in this socially disadvantaged community which is the LGBT Sex Work Community. We have worked with the Global Fund for its Round 10 project in this part of the country, so as to effectively provide HIV-AIDS prevention information and services. Our Ref No. 647/G.37/C84/SAAJP-Limbe/Southwest Region/Cameroon.
Under Article 343 of the Penal Code, sex work is considered illegal here in Cameroon. Anyone engaged in sex work, can face up to five years in prison. Because of this, many sex workers operate in hidden corners or in the dark so they are not operated by the law enforcement officers. Knowing sex workers are not protected by the law; many unscrupulous clients take advantage of this situation so as to abuse most sex workers. These punitive laws, make access to HIV services extremely difficult and in most part, these prevention and care services are mostly available to the female sex workers, and not to the Masculine and Transgendered sex workers. This has barred LGBT people from health care services and encouraged the spread of HIV and other related infections.
For Male and Transgendered sex workers, Article 347 of the Cameroonian Penal code criminalizes same sex practices, where anyone engaged in same sex can face up to five years in prison. This has made things difficult for the male and transgendered sex workers because they face double discrimination and are extremely marginalized by the society as a whole. When a sex worker is discovered as being a transgendered individual, they are severely beaten by their clients especially those that have a phobia for Trans persons. Because of this, transgendered sex workers are extremely cautious and careful during their sex work activities so as not to get discovered by their clients because they might suffer various forms of abuses.
Because of this hostile context we members of the LGBT sex work community live in, prevention and access to Clinical HIV aids related services are quite limited because most of these activities or services do not reach us.
CAMEF carries out the following activities in the whole of the south west region, where members of the LGBT community suffer the most because of gross discrimination in all aspects of life.
Below are the goals, vision, mission and objectives of CAMEF.
We want to actively collaborate with organizations like the Global Fund, FIDH, Human Rights Watch, Camnafaw, Camfaids and Aids Acodev Cameroon. We are looking forward to working with groups and networks that support our fight and initiative in order to make the world a better place for every group of person irrespective of their sexual orientations or line of work or health status.
Nov. 3, 2013
Standard Presentation for New Clients
Presentation of CAMEF
CAMEF( Cameroon Empowerment Association for Outreach Programs) was presented by the country director to those attending the meeting with us for the first time. The location and head office of the association was also presented to these members coming in for the first time to take part in the sensitization activities of the association.
The mission of the association was clearly explained, the association aims at making access to social services equitable to the LGBT community. The LGBT community members of the south west region who are often blackmailed, arrested on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation will receive immediate assistance from Camef.
Presentation of members of the Executive board
The members of the executive board of CAMEF were presented starting with the president to the treasurer whom most of the persons present during this meeting were already familiar with.
Objectives of the Association outlined
CAMEF being a not-for-profit organization has clearly stated and defined its objectives which were fully explained to these persons attending the meeting for the first time. Below are the objectives that were clearly stated and explained to make them better understand the objectives association. This calls for a better understanding of the activities of the association.
Target population and Activities Outlined
During this meeting, the target population of the association was disclosed; these are the socially disadvantaged community members such as the LGBT community and LGBT sex workers community of the south west region.
Activities regarding sensitization campaigns on sexual health and prevention will be effectively carried out in these target population so as to educate them on how to live a healthy and safe life when it comes to sexual intercourse.
Educational talk on STI (Sexually transmitted infection) and Screening
A brief talk on STI and screening was carried out by the country director, below are tips on what was discussed;
Below are the tips on what was being discussed in regards to Screening ( especially HIV screening)