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Nowhere to turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa

9 July, 2011
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
Publication Nowhere to turn
“Nowhere to Turn investigates the problem of blackmail and extortion of LGBT people in Africa, a challenge that has remained unaddressed for far too long. Human rights defenders, non-governmental organizations, and governments have a responsibility to address these crimes, which are a constant reminder of LGBT people’s legal and social vulnerability. Too many lives hang in the balance.”
–Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Wherever lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are forced to keep their sexual orientation and gender identity secret for fear of prosecution, violence, and other persecution, blackmail and extortion is endemic. In Africa, where a majority of countries criminalize same-sex sexual activity and where a variety of laws are used to penalize transgressive gender expression, blackmail and extortion are part of the daily lives of many LGBT people, who are isolated and vulnerable to abuse. Victims of these crimes are deterred from seeking help and justice for fear of further condemnation by authorities, communities, and even their own families.


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