Most sex workers abused by police - study

2012-08-22 22:35

Johannesburg - About 70% of sex workers have been abused by police, according to a study released in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"The human rights abuse of sex workers in South Africa is alarming and demands immediate attention," reads the study issued by the Sex Workers' Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat).

"Sex workers experience violence during arrest by police officers who routinely beat them, pepper spray them and sexually assault them."

The study was based on interviews with 308 sex workers, mostly in Cape Town, by the Women's Legal Centre. The sex workers were mostly women, but included men and transgender persons.

The report included first-person narratives from people who recounted being forced to perform oral sex or being gang-raped by police officers. They reported police officers assaulting them, often with pepper spray.

The study found police officers did not identify themselves or wear name tags when committing their offences.

"Police officers commit these crimes with impunity. They remove their name tags so that sex workers are unable to identify them and they instil such fear in the sex workers that they are afraid to report these crimes to the authorities," reads the report.

Arbitrary arrests were still common, despite a 2009 order from the Western Cape High Court that police could not arrest sex workers unless they intended to prosecute them.

Of the sex workers interviewed, 138 said they had been arrested, but only 21 ever appeared in court.

"This is a clear violation of the right to defend oneself in court and not to be arbitrarily deprived of one's freedom."

Most of those arrested, 117, were fined.

According to the study, sex workers were also open to exploitation for money. In a case in Cape Town, police came to a sex worker's flat and asked for a bribe.

"I gave one of them R10 because I knew he was hungry," the sex worker recounted.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain Frederick Van Wyk said none of the allegations in the study had been reported to the police.

"We urge anyone with information about these acts of behaviour by our police members to come forward and lay formal complaints to be investigated," Van Wyk said.

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-08-22 22:46

    They even have a name for it! Num Num. It is regarded as a perk...

      claudia.meads - 2012-08-23 01:02

      Could one have expected anything else in a country ruled by a sex-crazed buffoon..?

      preshen.govender.90 - 2012-08-23 08:01

      sex workers are the hardest working people in the country

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-08-22 22:54

    Legalize sex work. If your mate (male or female) feel threatened by the idea don't mess it up for the rest.

      Havokreeka - 2012-08-23 12:54

      Couldn't agree more!

  • Johan De Beer - 2012-08-22 23:56

    Let them go and sit on a hill, kill 10 people and then attack the police. It seems to work for other criminals. By the way, note how they are now called "sex workers". Not whores or prostitutes, but "sex workers"

      joe.soap.1806253 - 2012-08-23 07:29

      This country is so obsessed with political correctness; a maid is a maid .. but no, we must called them domestic workers. What BS. What next? Gardeners to be Landscape Architects? Pfft.

  • thakantshala - 2012-08-23 03:02

    our police

  • jimboyia - 2012-08-23 05:05

    Get used to it folks - this is how things roll in Africa. Sex pays for many things; a promotion at work, the right for a female cop to solicit bribes from motorists, release from jail without charges etc. Think of it as a non-cash payment, and therefore untraceable, perfect for a corrupted society.

      sibongile.m.mbatha - 2012-08-23 08:28

      Y specificaly \female cops\ ???

  • brionyl.french - 2012-08-23 05:43

    This i have seen myself, on Rivonia Road in Sandton, Two police men chasing down a prostitute who had clearly been rapped by them repeatedly as she was trying desperately to get away from them, falling all over the floor. I think police vehicles need to be monitored at all times, and they not allowed to be out unless on a call at night, they rape them, beat them and then drive off... I hope they all die of aids!

  • edward.chaane - 2012-08-23 05:55

    This bad behaviour will not stop aslong as you still defend police for doing such horrible thing's.Police must stop doing this,those people are human being's too.

  • Innocent Malema - 2012-08-23 06:52

    How true is this research? All I know is they are on the forefront of legalizing prostitution and they cook all this lies. By the way madam the president is not the only one who more than one wife. This is our culture. Stop being a racist bitch and deal with it.

      Zukile Marcus - 2012-08-23 07:32

      and must not come here with that tendency of undermining our culture and accusing everybody so that they legalise busy body selling acts

      Havokreeka - 2012-08-23 13:00

      Zukile, please just kill yourself. You're ruining the country forte rest of us. With you ANCYL inspired "They mustn't come here" nonsense. Newsflash, we are here and we're not going anywhere. Get used to it! Secondly "Innocent", Zuma isn't criticised for having more than 1 wife, he's criticised for the sex scandal he was involved in. He's also criticised because he's a buffoon, just like that Juju idiot.

  • harry.dewet.5 - 2012-08-23 07:40

    Statistics in SA show that 1 out of every 4 men rape and that one out of 10 have already gang-raped someone - what a sick society! We need mob justice to fix this disease by castrating all the rapists.

      customdesign - 2012-08-23 08:39

      I think those stats are scewed

  • 6Lady6Cadaver6 - 2012-08-23 07:54

    Many of these woman do what they do to look afer their children as they are forced to raise them alone. Many of these woman would give a kidney to get out of "the life". They may be sex workers but they do not steal or hurt anyone. they are trying to get by in incredibly hard times. Many people might point fingers in disgust, but noone knows the path they have walked and how they got there. Until you have lived a day in their shoes one cannot judge. It sickens me that these people have to suffer abuse by the hands of police officers no less. What they face everyday is hard enough.

      Blackpoison - 2012-08-23 08:19

      Totally agree with you.

      UglyKidJoe123 - 2012-08-23 09:10

      At last, an intelligent comment.

      johandebeer - 2012-08-24 18:05

      Cadaver, poison & ugly. OK.

  • tebo.go.5 - 2012-08-23 08:28

    hau thats soo unfair on these girls. They must let them trade in peace.

  • gideon.rossouw - 2012-08-23 08:50

    Despite my supposedly privileged position (white, male) I have experienced police behaving in an unlawful and threatening manner, and then you think twice about reporting that to the Police, so it is simply absurd that the Western Cape Police spokesman want to hide behind the excuse that these abuses are not reported. What he should say, is that they will investigate and act to stop this unlawful attack on the dignity of people which is mandated by the Constitution and part of their job description as Police Service.

  • kaykay.son.50 - 2012-08-23 09:11

    "Western Cape police spokesperson Captain Frederick Van Wyk said none of the allegations in the study had been reported to the police" Which police to report to here?

  • sifiso.msimango - 2012-08-23 12:03

    this prostitution thing came with whites trying to replace our polygamy, they forgot to put it on their constitution they brought here, we dont want it, police must make sure this evil thing dies

  • devin.unwin.54 - 2012-08-23 12:23

    What!? The SAP abusing their power? Who would have thought such a thing possible?

  • rofhiwa.ronald.1 - 2013-05-25 09:06

    police officers here are very lenient to them by demanding blow jobs bcos in the bible the punishment of prostitution was stoned to death so that our new generation wont have hoochies at all .if human rights commussion have nothing to investigate u betta close the shop than defending amanyala ::ONE::

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