Near impossible to stop cops bribing sex workers, Parliament told

2016-09-07 19:10
 (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Cape Town – It is almost impossible to address the problem of police officers taking advantage of sex workers by demanding bribes, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

Metropolitan police departments, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate as well as the SAPS briefed the police committee on the levels of co-operation between the units.

They were also briefing the committee on the state of the metro police department when a Member of Parliament raised a concern about the complaints received from sex workers regarding police officers.

During a special meeting last month to discuss legalising sex work, those in the industry told MPs that sex workers were raped, pepper sprayed and harassed by police officers daily.

Police heads were questioned on the steps taken against officers who were found to be harassing sex workers and demanding bribes.

"The way you're harassing sex workers, the bribes those girls have to pay," one MP lamented. 

It's complicated

One of the metro police chiefs, Steve Ngobeni, said that they always got complaints about their officers taking bribes, but this was not easy to police.

They had a serious problem, he said, becauseof public were always calling and pressuring them to remove the sex workers who operated close to suburbs.

"So, we try to help by ensuring we remove those particular people, because the parents, they don't want their kids to copy them. So these sex workers become an easy target," he said.

The sex workers found it difficult to go into the stations to complain due to the nature of the work they did, he said.

It was complicated and difficult to police, Parliament heard.

Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  parliament 2016  |  bribery  |  crime

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