Decriminalise sex work – female MPs
THE full decriminalisation of sex work is the only model that respects the rights of sex workers and has the potential to address the HIV crisis facing South Africa.
This is the view of female MPS as expressed in a statement yesterday by the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus. The caucus said it had noted and was disappointed with the South African Law Reform Commission report, called Sexual Offences: Adult Prostitution, which was released last week.
The caucus is to meet today to explore ways of taking this matter further.
Chairperson Masefele Morutoa said while the report noted that sex work was linked to exploitation and genderbased violence, it was oblivious to the fact that the legalisation of sex work would allow sex workers to access the criminal justice system.
“This has been pivotal to the calls made by many sex workers calling for full decriminalisation,” she said.
The caucus said the report’s recommendations turned a deaf ear to the vociferous voice of sex workers in this regard and was not linked to evidence.
“The full decriminalisation of sex work is the only model that respects the rights of sex workers with the potential to address the HIV crisis facing South Africa,” Morutoa said.
While the legal response should take into account the high rate of violence against women, the challenges of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, it should also adopt a progressive, rightsbased approach.
“The report, in taking the stance of continued criminalisation, is out of touch with how to promote women’s rights in allowing them to make choices about their bodies. It is patronising in its approach of seeking to protect women while ignoring the voices of those who are in the industry,” Morutoa said.