Women march to oppose legal prostitution for 2010

2009-06-18 00:00

A CONCERNED group of women has opposed the proposed legalising of prostitution in 2010, saying it “destroys the youth”.

In a memorandum presented to the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s office yesterday in Pietermaritzburg, the women said it is a “shame that South Africa is prepared to sacrifice [its] own daughters to earn foreign money”.

There has been an ongoing debate on the issue of legalising prostitution in the country to cater for tourists during the 2010 World Cup. This was proposed in parliament by ANC MP George Lekgetho in January this year.

More than 200 young women and men from different churches in the KZN midlands marched through the city yesterday to the premier’s office where they handed over the memorandum. Thandazile Buthelezi, the organiser of the march, said young people decided to take a stand against the proposed legalising of prostitution.

“It destroys the youth; girls get involved in selling their bodies, but they don’t realise that they are breaking up families, getting hooked on drugs or infec­ted with STIs or HIV and trauma.”

She said prostitution is the worst form of abuse because it leaves women traumatised and degraded.

“If prostitution becomes a legal profession, then young girls will see no reason for acquiring education, and if there is no education, we will have no doctors, engineers and teachers. The worst thing about prostitution is that it promotes human trafficking: our children will be hijacked for prostitution.”

In retaliation, sex workers in the city accused the group of being hypocrites.

Said a sex worker who operates from East Street: “None of those people (protesters)has ever tried to find out why we are doing this job. Jobs are scarce, especially if you are uneducated — if you get a job you are likely to become a sex slave for your boss. And the only option is to quit and become a sex worker to feed your children.

“We are vulnerable, we need the law to protect us like all citizens of this country,”

Another sex worker said that whether prostitution is legal or not, she will continue working.

“Why should we be denied the benefits of World Cup?” she asked.

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