Sex workers fed up with police

2015-01-15 00:00

DISGRUNTLED sex workers operating on Prince Alfred and Burger streets are accusing the police of treating them like criminals.

One of the sex workers, who asked not to be unnamed, said that on Monday four of them were sjambokked by police, locked up and fined.

She added that police are making their lives difficult, forcing them to hide whenever they see a police car.

Another sex worker said it was not the first time that police had treated them “violently”.

“Police have taken me in four times already. When we get to the police station, we are told to sign a document which declares we have been fined,” she said.

“We are already taking huge risks being on the streets making money for our families because of the lack of employment. Police should stop interfering with our business,” she added.

The sex workers said they work during the day to avoid danger at night, even though business picks up rapidly after sunset.

They told The Witness that they either book a room at an hourly accommodation establishment on Burger Street, or use the Manor grounds to satisfy their clients. The going rate is R50 for 30 minutes if the deal is not negotiated, they said.

“Days are different, but usually I make R550 if the day is busy or R150 if clients are nowhere to be seen,” she said.

Police spokesperson Captain Zenzele Ndlovu said four women were arrested on Monday for crimes related to prostitution and were fined R50 each.

“Normally prostitutes taken to the police station are not detained, because prostitution is not considered to be a serious offence. If a fine is paid at the police station, it is then taken to the clerk of court,” he said.

Ndlovu added that there is no record of any prostitutes being assaulted.

“The police have a duty to reduce and eradicate rapes, robberies and murders. Prostitution contributes to the increase of these crimes downtown,” said Ndlovu.

• siso.naile@witness.co.za

THE South African National Aids Council (Sanac) ­announced on Monday that about 60% of South ­Africa’s estimated 150 000 sex workers are HIV-positive. According to the study, KwaZulu-Natal ­contributed 16% of the total estimated number of sex workers in the country.

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