‘Law reform commission has no respect for sex workers’ rights: Sonke Gender Justice
TMG Digital | 2017-05-26 18:32:43.0
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Sonke Gender Justice has joined other human rights organisations in slamming the South African Law Reform Commission’s recommendation that sex work remain a criminal activity.
On Friday Justice Minister Michael Masutha release the report‚ 20 years in the making.
Sonke called the department of justice reject the law reform commission’s recommendations and to decriminalise sex work.
The organisation said South Africa criminalises all aspects of sex work under a law created during apartheid – the Sexual Offences Act of 1957.
It said studies had shown that making sex work a crime drives sex workers underground and increases stigma‚ which results in them not being able to access services and reduces their power‚ “rendering them vulnerable to violence‚ human rights violations and corruption”.
This‚ in turn‚ increases the risk of violence and abuse.
“It would seem that the law reform commission has ignored this evidence and the many sex worker murders that have taken place over the last two decades.
Instead it has recommended that the status quo remain‚ with a slight modification – the inclusion of diversion programmes (rehabilitation) for sex workers.
“Internationally‚ evidence shows that reducing and eventually eliminating violence against women (and men and transgender people) will only be possible in a context where the criminal law governing sex work is completely removed‚ and where sex workers are brought under the framework of occupational health and safety laws‚ and labour law where these are based on human rights principles‚” Sonke said.
It added that the law reform commission did not respect the human rights of sex workers.