Sex workers in online tit for tat

2010-11-14 19:32

Johannesburg - Sex workers across the country are poised to tell all. They will be hitting cyberspace, naming and shaming clients and police - but keeping their jobs secret.

The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) is staging online media workshops to teach the women new tricks.

Last week Sweat ran a web-training workshop for sex workers in Johannesburg. Some Cape Town sex workers have already started workshops on Saturdays, and in Sibasa, Limpopo, they start next Monday.

Sweat will provide a platform through an anonymous blog on its website for the sex workers to tell their stories. The women are out for revenge. First to be exposed will be journalists who promise ­anonymity and then break their pledge.

“We are misquoted and journalists twist our words,” charges Thandi Ngwenya*.

And they will reveal everything about the industry, from the dodgy and high-class hotels in which they operate to the hotel managers and staff who demand sexual favours.

“Journalists can't access the hotels in which we work, but we can,” Erika Ndlovu* boasts.

Police

Untrustworthy clients will not be spared. In this business a client must pay upfront, but some clients get serviced and later violently take back their money.

The sex workers also hope to force government, through their blog posts, to decriminalise their trade.

“We are not sex workers because we love sex - we are workers,” Ngwenya says.

They want to be able to freely lay charges and have access to health services.

In their sights are police officers who demand sexual favours after “arresting” sex workers.

They claim police often pounce on them while they are servicing their clients.

“Police watch while you’re with a client,” says Mandisa Mnombo*.

She says cops often beat up the client, threaten to call his wife and lead him to the nearest ATM to withdraw money for “itjotjo” (a bribe).

*Not their real names

Read more on:    sweat  |  internet
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