Sex work is legal here. But only if you register with the police

Updated 0525 GMT (1325 HKT) September 20, 2019

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CNN is committed to covering gender inequality wherever it occurs in the world. This story is part of As Equals, an ongoing series.

Due to the stigma associated with sex work in Senegal, the women CNN interviewed asked that their identities be protected. They are identified using pseudonyms.

Dakar, Senegal — On a sweltering afternoon in a suburb of Dakar, Binta is among a group of women waiting to be seen in the back of a Senegalese government clinic. When her name is called, she is ushered into a check-up room, tested for a series of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and handed free condoms.
At the end of the appointment, the nurse stamps her identification card, called a "carnet sanitaire," which she is required to carry as a registered, legal sex worker.
The 24-year-old single mother travels over an hour and a half by taxi to get here, even though it means she's sometimes late for her evening computer science classes. On the ride through Dakar's traffic-snarled streets, she flips through photos of her 4-year-old son on her phone. For Binta, it's worth the long commute: "I go here because it's discreet."
Binta travels in a taxi after her appointment at the Sébikhotane clinic
She first came to Sébikhotane clinic last fall, after signing up to a government scheme that regulates the sex industry in Senegal. Under the program, sex workers must register with police, attend mandatory monthly sexual health s