It is claimed that prostitution is mankind’s oldest profession. However, hardly do people, especially women engage in prostitution for pleasure. It is hardship that often pushes women into this difficult job. Things become even more challenging for these women because of legislation that makes prostitution illegal. There have therefore been growing calls that prostitution should be decriminalised. There appears to be a particularly pressing need to decriminalise South African sex work.
This is because perhaps no where are prostitutes are as vulnerable due to legislation that criminalises sex work than as they are in south Africa. There have been rising calls for the South African government to decriminalise South African sex work because of the extreme risks suffered by South African sex workers as a result of operating under cover. A really interesting article at Human Right Watch has looked at this issue. The article states that,
South African authorities are compromising the safety and well-being of women and obstructing efforts to end the HIV pandemic by treating sex work as a crime, Human Rights Watch and the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task-force (SWEAT) said in a report released today. South Africa should decriminalise the exchange of sex for money by consenting adults.
“Sex workers in South Africa face arrest, detention, harassment, and abuse from police, which also deters them from reporting rape or other brutal attacks against them,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, acting deputy executive director for programme at Human Rights Watch. “All over the world we and other rights groups find the same patterns of abuse where sex work is criminalized.”
The 70-page report, “Why Sex Work Should be Decriminalised in South Africa,” documents violence experienced by sex workers in South Africa, and their difficulties in reporting crimes and creating safe places to work. Sex workers also reported being sexually exploited by police and forced to pay bribes to officers.
See full story here.