By Leanne Farish, The Big Issue
The call to decriminalise prostitution in South Africa by the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) could lead to a more effective clampdown on human traffickers supplying the local sex trade, advocacy groups argue.
This follows the ANCWL’s mid-April confirmation that they will present an argument for the decriminalisation of prostitution at the ANC’s national conference in Mangaung this December.
Some opposed to the decriminalisation of prostitution have argued that such a move will lead to an increase in human trafficking into the sex trade. But according to several South African women’s rights organisations, this is not the case.
“Decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa will not result in an increase in sex trafficking or child sex work, based on evidence from New Zealand [which decriminalised prostitution in 2003],” says Stacey-Leigh Manoek of the Women’s Legal Centre. Manoek points to research which shows that decriminalisation in New Zealand did not lead to any increase in sex trafficking or under-age sex work.
In fact, decriminalising prostitution could actually help law enforcement to identify and arrest traffickers, according to the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat).
“A key benefit of decriminalisation is a vast improvement in the relationship between police and sex workers, to the point that sex workers become key information sources in attempts to uncover human trafficking. Currently, sex workers are afraid to do so because they might end up being arrested,” says Sweat advocacy officer Ntokozo Yingwana.
“Also, decriminalisation will also bring into effect stronger laws against coerced sex work, trafficking and under-age sex work, all which are not forms of adult consensual sex work.”
[This news article was sourced from The Big Issue: ANCWL’s decriminalisation call may expose human traffickers]