By Regan Thaw, of Eyewitness News
CAPE TOWN - The Women's Legal Centre on Tuesday said draft legislation relating to torture should protect sex workers, regardless of the fact that their profession is illegal.
Parliament’s justice portfolio committee heard submissions from civil society groups on the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Bill.
The proposed legislation has not been promulgated, despite being discussed and scrutinised for 10 years.
The centre's Stacey-Leigh Manoek said current laws do not adequately protect sex workers.
“They experience these kinds of abuses because of the nature of their work. It’s hard to enforce the Sexual Offences Act as it stands, so police resort to illegal policing practices.”
According to a report on Human Right Violations by Police against Sex Workers, they are often assaulted, pepper sprayed and sexually assaulted by officers.
They also experience violence during arrest.
Earlier, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) focused much of its submission on defining who the perpetrators of torture are.
SACBC also wants individuals, such as the president and government ministers, to be held responsible as they can instigate torture indirectly.
[This news article was sourced from Eyewitness News: 'Torture bill should protect sex workers'.]