SOWETAN LIVE: Sex worker is also HIV activist

23 March 2016 There are boxes of condoms inside gay sex worker Dudu Bele’s shack at Marapong township in Limpopo. For Bele, 30, contracting HIV-Aids is a daily risk which has inspired him to go out and distribute condoms and sachets of lubricant around the township in Lephalale near Eskom’s Medupi power station. Yesterday, a government delegation led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the area to promote awareness on tuberculosis and HIV-Aids-related diseases to mark World TB Day. Ramaphosa, who is also deputy chairman of the SA National Aids Council, was also in the area to oversee the handover of a new health centre. Bele said they were excited to have a bigger health facility in the area because the old clinic was too small to accommodate everyone. He also works with the Sisonke Sex Worker Movement and said HIV-Aids was a big issue in the area. Read full article: … Continue reading →

THE TIMES: Law nails HIV sex worker scheme

14 March 2016 SEX workers, long ignored by the government and harassed by police, will finally get access to HIV treatment and prevention — but decriminalisation has not been dealt with by government and this could hobble the initiative. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa released a detailed plan on Friday to ensure sex workers achieve better healthcare. About 70% of sex workers in Johannesburg are HIV-positive. Ramaphosa said sex workers will now receive antiretrovirals as soon as they test positive. Unlike other South Africans they will not have to wait until their CD4 count — the measure of immunity — drops to 500 to qualify… The Law Reform Commission — which investigated whether the law that makes prostitution illegal has to be changed — held hearings on decriminalisation in 2001 and accepted written submissions in 2012. “The process, taking 15 years, has been too long,” said Sally Shackelton, director of Sweat. Read full article: … Continue reading →

NSWP: Murder of Nokuphila Moudy Kumalo in Court with Sisonke Support

10 February 2016 NSWP member SWEAT and Sisonke in Cape Town, South Africa are monitoring the court case of Zwelethu Mthethwa. He is accused of murdering Nokuphila Moudy Kumalo, a 23-year-old sex worker who was found dead on Ravenscraig Road, Woodstock, Cape Town on the 14 of April, 2013. According to News 24, the accused was captured on CCTV getting out of his car, approaching a woman – possibly a sex worker – and hitting her repeatedly. When she fell to the ground he started to kick her and she died from the assault. The CCTV coverage was only recently admitted as evidence in the case. Sex work is illegal in South Africa. The laws regulating sex work are Apartheid laws from 1957, which criminalise sex workers and third parties. In 2007, the law was amended to include the criminalisation of clients. “Under criminalisation, violence against sex workers can be perpetrated with impunity,” said Ishtar Lakhani, from SWEAT. “The South African context is not unique. Wherever sex work is criminalised, violence can occur with impunity. When states do not decriminalise sex work, they are complicit in the violence against sex workers,” Lakhani continued. In Cape Town alone, 39 sex workers have died in the past year because they were murdered or had inadequate access to medical services. “These are just the deaths we are aware of,” said Lakhani, “due to criminalisation, these deaths are underreported.” Read full article: … Continue reading →

ZOUTNET: Local sex worker helps improve colleagues’ lives

05 February 2016 She comes in quietly and sits down properly. She is very soft-spoken. She is a sex worker. Up until two years ago, Todani (not her real name) was just a sex worker until she got drawn in by the Munna Ndi Nnyi? (MNN) organisation in Louis Trichardt. MNN means “Who is the real man?” in Tshivenda. They have their head office in Thohoyandou and a satellite office here in town. Their goal is to help and assist local sex workers with health, legal and human-rights issues that they encounter in their daily work place. The aforementioned woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, is now one of Munna Ndi Nnya’s peer educators who manages education and talk programmes to fellow sex workers. “I now know my rights, not only as a sex worker, but also as a human being and citizen of this country,” Todani explains. She, like the many other women she supports, prefers to be called a sex worker, rather than the derogatory term prostitute or magosha. This is in line with the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce’s (SWEAT) human rights approach that they follow. All SWEAT’s outreach activities centre around health and human rights, and the recognition that sex work is work and should be legalized. Read full article: … Continue reading →