About AFRO

About AFRO

Action for REACH OUT (Rights of Entertainers in Asia to Combat Human Oppression and Unjust Treatment) was officially established in 1993. It is the first sex workers’support group in Hong Kong, a non-governmental and a charitable organisation. AFRO endeavours to offer adequate services and support to women working in the sex industry in Hong Kong, including those who are from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Thailand, and the Philippines etc. AFRO is a member of the Hong Kong Women's Coalition on Equal Opportunities and the Hong Kong Coalition of AIDS Service Organizations.

Vision and Mission

AFRO believes that for the advancement of society, every individual's personal freedom, dignity and basic human rights should be protected and promoted. Society should embrace diversity and facilitate the efforts of all sectors to bring about necessary social change to enable all persons to enjoy their human rights.

Embracing these beliefs, AFRO works for the social inclusion of female sex workers, as one of the most marginalised and discriminated groups in Hong Kong, so that they can enjoy equal treatment and access to all legal and health rights. We hold that decriminalisation and recognition of women in prostitution as workers in the sex industry is an essential condition for their ability to stand up and speak out on their own behalf as well as to participate in social and political affairs.

AFRO believes that every individual, no matter what her educational, social, religious and occupational background is, has the right:

- to fair and just treatment under the law.

- to be free from violence and coercion.

- to safeguard her/his own health.

- not to be used as a commodity. (Sex worker is a service provider but not a commodity.)

- to have the terms of contract honoured and not changed without her/his consent.

Chronology of AFRO

  • 1993

    - Established by Sister Ann Gray, Sister Helene O'Sullivan and Ms. Melanie Orhant as the first sex workers' concern and support group in Hong Kong.

    - Launched outreach and hotline services.

  • 1995

    - Reflected to the Legislative Council the problem that sex workers who were charged with "Soliciting for an immoral purpose" (Section 147, Criminal Ordinances) were not entitled to government's legal service, and requested that the Duty Lawyer Service provide equal assistance to sex workers who were charged with such an offence.

  • 1996

    - In May, the Legislative Council Secretariat accepted AFRO's recommendation and officially invited the Duty Lawyer Service to consider expanding its scope of service. The request was accepted by the Duty Lawyer Service within the same month. Thus, sex workers charged with "soliciting for an immoral purpose" are formally entitled to the government's legal service.

  • 1999

    - Launched Peer Education Programme.

  • 2002

    - Celebrated AFRO's 10th Anniversary.

  • 2005
  • 2006

    - Joined the Hong Kong Women's Coalition on Equal Opportunities to submit a shadow report on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to examine the implementation of CEDAW in Hong Kong and reflect the discrimination against women (including sex workers) in Hong Kong. AFRO also sent its representative to New York to join the lobby effort to persuade the UN to adopt the recommendations made by HK NGOs. These recommendations would have led to an improvement of the situation for women in Hong Kong.

  • 2007

    - Commenced AFRO's Sexual Heath and Women's health Check-up service.

    - Released the report on A Survey on Occupational Safety of Female Sex Workers in Hong Kong.

  • 2008

    - Established AFRO Shop, a platform for skills training and safer sex promotion for sex workers.

    - Initiated a series of follow-up activities after the serial murders of sex workers, including extending the hotline service to 24 hours a day, expanding the outreach services, recruiting daytime outreach volunteers, responding to the media, initiating "Sex Work is Work. Advocacy for law amendment - 'two women in one apartment' de-criminalisation" online petition, and launching an energetic lobbying policy.

  • 2009

    - Provided training for Macau sex workers' outreach project volunteers.

  • 2010

    - Established AFRO Club – a sex workers-based member group.

    - Released the report on A Survey on the Relationship between Street Sex Workers and the Community.

  • 2012

    - Released the report on A Survey on Occupational Safety of Female Sex Workers in Hong Kong (2012).

  • 2013

    - Celebrated AFRO's 20th Anniversary.

    - Release the report on A Survey on Barriers to Condom Use among Sex Workers with Teen's Key, JJJ Association and Midnight Blue.

  • 2014

    - Joined the NGO delegation and attended the hearing on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held in Geneva, to report to the Committee the human rights condition of sex workers in Hong Kong. Prior to the meeting, a joint shadow report prepared by 67 Hong Kong NGOs had been submitted to Committee.

  • 2015

    - Participated in a research on sex workers' human rights conditions conducted by Amnesty International (AI), which later passed the resolution to adopt decriminalisation of sex work as a plank in its policy agenda, to call on governments to repeal most laws that prohibit sex work, in order to protect the human rights of sex workers.

  • 2016

    - Organised a Top Ten list of News concerning sex workers in 2016, Midnight Blue, Teen's Key and JJJ Association, to remind the public of the violence and discrimination sex workers encounter on a daily basis.

    - The four organisations issued public statement and initiated a "one person one letter" action, requesting the Hong Kong Advisory Council of AIDS to include the issue of "Stop using condoms as legal evidence for prosecution of sex work" in the 2017 – 2021 AIDS strategies for Hong Kong, yet failed to receive positive response.

  • 2021

    Launched a health information website to share information on HIV/AIDS, sexual health and women's health etc. with fellow sisters and members of the public.