Prostitution in Angola

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Prostitution in Angola is illegal[1][2] and prevalent since the 1990s.[3] Prostitution increased further at the end of the civil war in 2001.[4] Prohibition is not consistently enforced. Many women engage in prostitution due to poverty.[5] It was estimated in 2013 that there were about 33,00 sex workers in the country.[6] Many Namibian women enter the country illegally, often via the border municipality of Curoca, and travel to towns such as Ondjiva, Lubango and Luanda to work as prostitutes.[7]

Prostitution is widespread in the oil-rich Cabinda Province,[4] where many American and other foreign nationals work.[8] Women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo cross the porous border to earn money in the enclave as prostitutes.[4] Some of the police in the area are corrupt and deport the women if they do not pay the bribes required.[4] The most famous bar/brothel in the enclave is Berlita in Cabinda city's Comandante Jika neighbourhood. It is named after its late owner, a sex worker.[4] Prostitution is also common in the diamond mining areas.[3][9]

The Ministry of Family and Women Promotion (MINFAMU) maintains a women's shelter in the capital, Luanda, that is open to former prostitutes.[5]

Human trafficking from China is a major problem, on which the Angolan government is working with the Chinese Police.[10] Child prostitution is also a problem in the country.[3][9][11]

2010 Africa Cup of Nations[edit]

Angola hosted the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. There were fears that the increased demand for prostitutes from the visiting fans would lead to a surge in human trafficking.[12] An anti-trafficking law was passed, and a soccer-based public awareness campaign was run.[12]

The spread of STIs and HIV were a concern. The organising committee, LOC, initially tried to have all the prostitutes removed from the cities hosting games, but this did not prove to be practical. In conjunction with the Health Commission in Angola, they distributed 5 million free condoms to bars, hotels and other strategic locations.[13]


Angola has a large HIV/AIDS infected population. However, it has one of the lowest prevalence rates in the Southern Africa zone.[14] Sex workers are a high risk group. UNAIDS reported that there was a 4.7% prevalence amongst sex workers in 2016.[15] (The figure amongst the general adult population was 1.9%)[16]

The reluctance to use condoms is a contributing factor. In 2016, UNAIDS reported 82.6% condom usage amongst sex workers.[17] Some sex workers charge double for sex without a condom.[4] Another factor is that the many prostitutes that are in the country illegally have no access to health services.[7]

Sex trafficking[edit]

Angola is a source and destination country for women, and children subjected to sex trafficking. Angolan girls as young as 13 years old are victims of sex trafficking. The provinces of Luanda, Benguela, and the border provinces of Cunene, Namibe, Zaire, and Uige are the most vulnerable to trafficking activities. Angolan women and children are subjected to sex trafficking in South Africa, Namibia, and European countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal.[9]

Women from Vietnam and Brazil engaged in prostitution in Angola may be victims of sex trafficking. Some Chinese women are recruited by Chinese gangs and construction companies with promises of work, but later are deprived of their passports, kept in walled compounds with armed guards, and forced into prostitution to pay back the costs of their travel. Undocumented Congolese migrants, including children, enter Angola for work in diamond-mining districts, where some endure sex trafficking in mining camps. Trafficking networks recruit and transport Congolese girls as young as 12 years old from Kasai Occidental in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Angola for sex trafficking.[9]

The United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ranks Angola as a "Tier 2 Watch List" country.[9]


  1. ^ "The Legal Status of Prostitution by Country". ChartsBin. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  2. ^ "100 Countries and Their Prostitution Policies". Procon. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Pehrsson, Kajsa; Cohen, Gabriela; Ducados, Henda; Lopes, Paulette (April 2000). "Towards Gender Equality in Angola" (PDF). IDA. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "ANGOLA: Sex work in separatist Cabinda". IRIN. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  5. ^ a b "Angola 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 5 January 2018. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ "Sex workers: Population size estimate - Number, 2016". UNAIDS. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Sex trade chase the dollar into Angola". New Era Newspaper Namibia. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  8. ^ Eviatar, Daphne (12 April 2004). "Africa's Oil Tycoons". National Magazine. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Angola 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 5 January 2018. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ "Chinese women rescued from Angolan den of vice". China Daily. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  11. ^ Oyebade, Adebayo O. (2007). Culture and customs of Angola (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0313331473.
  12. ^ a b Rodham Clinton, Hillary (2010). Trafficking in Persons Report (10th Ed. ). DIANE Publishing. ISBN 978-1437937169.
  13. ^ "Sex Hawkers On The Prowl". The PM News. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  14. ^ Kendall, Carl; Kerr, Ligia Regina Franco Sansigolo; Mota, Rosa Maria Salani; Cavalcante, Socorro; Macena, Raimunda Hermelinda Maia; Chen, Sanny; Gaffga, Nicholas; Monterosso, Edgar; Bastos, Fransisco I. (2014-08-15). "Population Size, HIV, and Behavior Among MSM in Luanda, Angola: Challenges and Findings in the First Ever HIV and Syphilis Biological and Behavioral Survey". Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 66 (5): 544–551. doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000213. ISSN 1525-4135. PMC 4733005. PMID 25014130.
  15. ^ "HIV prevalence amongst sex workers". UNAIDS. 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Angola 2017 Country factsheets". UNAIDS. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Condom use among sex workers - Percent, 2016". UNAIDS. Retrieved 22 July 2018.