Sex work called to be legalised

By Drum Digital
13 January 2015

Legalising sex work in the country has come back into the spotlight.

After the launch of the HIV Prevention and Treatment Programme for Sex Workers by the South African National AIDS Council in Johannesburg yesterday, the legalisation of one of the world's oldest professions has been looked into once again.

Sowetan reports that the programme was started in order to address HIV infection among sex workers but also includes plans to encourage the legalisation of sex work.

Research commissioned by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) in collaboration with the Sex Workers' Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT) reveals that there are 153 000 sex workers in the country and 8 000 of those are men.

Calls for legalisation are also based on requests for the protection of sex workers against wrongful arrests, harassment from police and general discrimination in society.

Deputy Minister of Justice John Jeffrey is not keen on making the profession legal as he foresees it as having a negative impact on the country.

"We don't want to encourage sex work. We don't want to invite people from other countries to come to South Africa to try and earn their trade in this way. We also don't want to make South Africa to be seen as a sex work tourist venue," says Jeffrey as quoted by the paper.

Countries that have legalised sex work include Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands but remains illegal in many African coutries excluding Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali and Madagascar.

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