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.
The ANC recently voted to decriminalize sex work and Amsterdam’s red light district offers an example of how this could work – but many South African lawmakers support partial decriminalization, where clients rather than sex workers become the criminals.
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.
Released by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) on 12 January, this 49-page preliminary document outlines plans to, for instance, increase HIV and tuberculosis (TB) prevention, care and treatment among sex workers and families.