Two-day workshop on sex workers

2015-04-21 00:00

BUSINESS Fighting Crime along with Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) have joined hands to host a workshop on sex workers today.

The workshop is to be held at the Pietermaritzburg Royal Showgrounds at the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business offices. It is a two-day programme that looks at mitigating stigma of sex workers, sensitising people to sex workers’ needs and risks and training people to work with sex workers appropriately and knowledgeably.

BFC project manager Debbie Harrison said her organisation ­decided to host the workshop with Sweat as the organisation had been around since the 1990s and is a ­national organisation striving for the rights of the sex worker and the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa.

Harrison said there were many sex workers in Pietermaritzburg and the community needed to work together in engaging with them and helping them, whether it be to fight for their rights or find a life outside of prostitution.

“We know of many boys and men living on the street and our programme for helping and ­working with these men is fairly ­developed, however, there are women and girls on the street who are being pimped and we have no access to them.

“The long-term aim is to develop a multi-sectorial response to girls and women who are homeless, trafficked and abused, including programmes to improve sex workers’ access to safety and health services and exit opportunities.

“We know this will take a while but we hope through this we will learn how to engage and work with sex workers.”

The programme will look at the stereotypes surrounding sex workers and how they are discriminated against in society, as well as the law regarding sex workers and their human rights.

The workshop will also discuss human trafficking and the exploitation of children, understanding risky behaviour and will explore risk reduction counselling.

Harrison said the programme was open to all members of the public and that a number of police and safety and security committees had jumped on board.

She said non-profit organisations were welcome to get involved, especially those who dealt with sex workers and human trafficking in and around Pietermaritzburg.

It will be held between 9 am and 3 pm today and tomorrow. E-mail for any queries.


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