TIMES LIVE: Ladies of ‘The Bush’ cry foul

Article by: Katharine Child 23 May 2016 Sex workers are being harassed by metro police and even threatened with police dogs – at a time when the government has called for them to be treated “with dignity”. Last week, metro police arrived at a field in Pretoria West known as “The Bush” and told sex workers they were there to get rid of them. One sex worker told The Times: “We were scared to run away because they had about 10 dogs.” Sex workers said about 100 metro cops arrived in two buses and told them that they “were a disgrace to schoolchildren” and they were there to “clean up” the area. The sex worker said the police ignored them when they asked how they expected them to earn money to feed their children if they chased them from “The Bush”. This harassment has been going on since November, according to activists from Sex Workers’ Education and Advocacy Taskforce and the Sisonke Sex Worker Movement. This is despite Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa saying in March that sex workers were “entitled to dignity”. Read full article here … Continue reading →

THE CONVERSATION: Debate around sex work in South Africa tilts towards decriminalisation

Article by: Cathi Albertyn 15 May 2016 South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalise sex work. If it does, it will be one of a handful of countries that have fully decriminalised sex work (including New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia), and the first African country to do so. Currently only Senegal makes some provision for legal sex work and subjects it to regulation… Sex work without interference Decriminalisation would help reduce these multiple rights violations. It would enhance the ability of sex workers to work without interference. It will make it easier for them to seek services and redress. This view is advocated by organisations such as the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce and Sonke Gender Justice, as well as the Commission for Gender Equality. Even the African National Congress Women’s League has nailed its colours to this mast. Opposing these views are radical feminist claims that “prostitution” is never a choice, but rather an instance of exploitation of women. Women’s lack of agency in engaging in sex work should be recognised. Proponents of this view argue that women should be assisted to exit sex work. This has resulted in the so-called “Swedish model”, which seeks to eliminate demand for sex work by criminalising clients, but not sex workers. Prominent among South African advocates of this position is the lobby group, Embrace Dignity. Read full article here: … Continue reading →

THE CITIZEN: Mommy is a sex worker

Article by: Tsholofelo Wesi 9 May 2016 It was a Mother’s Day with a difference for sex workers and sex worker advocates. The SolidariTea Mother’s Day event and launch of the Sex Worker Super Hero film gathered on Friday, May 6, 2016, to commemorate Mothers Day for sex workers with children. The event, hosted by Mothers for the Future (M4F), a programme that supports mothers who do sex work, was attended by 60 guests from organisations working with women, children and sex work, including 13 mothers who were sex workers themselves, according to Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) media officer Lesego Tlhwale. Duduzile Dlamini, event organiser at Sisonke, a sex workers’ movement, said mothers who did sex work faced a lot of challenges: “In our support group, they come every day with a whole host of problems.” Dlamini says some of the mothers lose their children because they are taken away from them by authorities under the assumption that they cannot care for their children and are bad mothers. A lot of the mothers do not feel ready to tell their children about their occupation, according to her. However, community members take it upon themselves to reveal to the children what their mothers do without the mothers’ permission. “They do not tell them in a way that the children can respect their mothers after that. The children are told in a way that they should hate their mothers in the end,” she says. Read article here. … Continue reading →

GROUNDUP: Mothers’ Day for sex workers

Article by: Ashleigh Furlong 6 May 2016 Mothers for the Future is a programme that supports mothers who are sex workers Mothers for the Future is an initiative of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT). It provides support groups, outreach and home visits. Mothers discuss difficulties such as domestic violence, child grants, and the challenges that they face when their children are targeted as a result of their mother’s work. Duduzile Dlamini, the programme coordinator, says that some mothers even have their children taken away from them by social services and that their children, like their mothers, are criminalised. “We are proud; we are mothers; we are the best mothers, and we fight for decriminalisation [of sex work],” said Dlamini. “We pay school fees for our children to get more education. We pay bills but are not able to save the money. We can’t open accounts,” said Dlamini. Read full article here:     … Continue reading →