So Saturday night was different.
My organization has been looking to do capacity building activities with Female Sex workers for a while now, but a few things have been in the way. Actually, just one big thing. Ramadan. During the holy month, the majority of Senegalese FSW, both registered and unregistered, don’t work. Interesting eh? However there are enough foreign FSW (from Togo, Guinea, Liberia etc) who are Christian and so are not bothered by Ramadan. So it was to these bars that my colleagues and I went to Saturday night.
My colleagues were mostly there making contacts with the managers of the bars, who essentially act as pimps, though they do not extort money from FSW. We are planning on hosting them in our office to learn more about the way FSW organize in Dakar, what categories of FSW exist, and who we may be successful working with. Our next planned step is to meet with representative/well known/well connected FSW to hear from them about what sorts of issues they face as well as services they may be looking for, to see what we could provide.
Female Sex Workers are not a group I am familiar with, though of course I have been to many bars and clubs where they work and seen plenty of the old European man/woman with young Senegalese sex worker yuk. A few of the client/sex worker interactions I saw the other night made my skin crawl just as much. I’m hoping to learn a lot more about FSW in Senegal – Saturday night’s excursion made me realize how little I know or even can comprehend.