Most sex workers hide what they do for a living from those closest to them – especially their own children, causing pain and distrust mainly because South Africa does not legitimise their work.
Amsterdam’s tolerance of sex work and recreational drugs has translated into better health outcomes for its citizens. Can its approach be adopted by other countries where HIV thrives in the shadows?
Sex workers are more likely to be victimised, raped and killed than other women at the hands of both police and clients. As long as sex work remains illegal individuals are left at the mercy of a dehumanising system. Any conversation on rape needs the input of sex workers: one of the most vulnerable communities.
More than three million South Africans are on antiretrovirals (ARVs) today but even the world’s largest HIV treatment programme has been unable to reach those who live in society’s forgotten corners where HIV thrives among darkness and death.
South Africa has become one of the world’s first countries to begin rolling out pre-exposure prophylaxis as well as ‘test and treat’ to sex workers as it launches Africa’s first plan to prevent and treat HIV among sex workers.
Carrying a badge and wearing a uniform have not stopped Kuruman police from allegedly threatening sex workers in an attempt to coerce sex workers to provide their services for free, according to Northern Cape Provincial AIDS Council Chairperson Beau Nkaelang.