De­crim­i­nalise our trade be­fore 2010 – sex work­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FRAN­CIS HWESHE

SEX WORK­ERS coun­try­wide have called for the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of their trade and the cre­ation of a safer work­ing en­vi­ron­ment be­fore the Fifa World Cup show­down in seven months’ time.

The sex work­ers plan to hike their fees and dump the rand for the US dol­lar as they tar­get for­eign fans and tourists.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from across the coun­try spoke out at a fo­rum in the city or­gan­ised by the Sex Work­ers Ed­u­ca­tion and Ad­vo­cacy Task­force (Sweat), this week.

Con­cerns were also raised that the coun­try could run out of con­doms dur­ing the tour­na­ment, fu­elling fears of in­creased HIV in­fec­tions.

The fo­rum was dubbed Con­sul­ta­tion on Sex Work and the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup: Hu­man Rights, Pub­lic Health, Soc­cer and Be­yond.

The fo­rum was at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the SA Na­tional Aids Coun­cil, Wits Uni­ver­sity’s Forced Mi­gra­tion Stud­ies and other stake­hold­ers from Ger­many, New Zealand and Ghana.

Some of the ma­jor con­cerns raised by the sex work­ers in­cluded in­creased po­lice ha­rass­ment and abuse by po­lice be­fore the world soc­cer show­piece.

A Cape Town rep­re­sen­ta­tive said the trade should be de­crim­i­nalised “be­cause peo­ple are dy­ing”.

She pre­dicted a spike in hu­man and child traf­fick­ing, gang­ster­ism and rob­beries by peo­ple tak­ing ad­van­tage of the crim­i­nalised in­dus­try.

The fo­rum plans to do aware­ness cam­paigns around dis­crim­i­nal­is­ing the trade and pro­mot­ing safe sex among oth­ers.

Sweat also wants their con­cer ns to be ad­dressed by the gov­ern­ment, po­lice and Fifa.

PIC­TURE: SAM CLARK

WHEN DUTY CALLS: Po­lice march past the Cape Town City Hall dur­ing a pa­rade yes­ter­day to launch the crime-preven­tion pro­grammes for the fes­tive sea­son, the World Cup Fi­nal Draw next week and for the World Cup.

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