Justice Dept releases adult prostitution report for public comment

The report has taken at least 2 years to complete and is aimed at reviewing the fragmented legislative framework which regulates adult prostitution.

FILE: Justice Minister Michael Masutha. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

PRETORIA - The Justice Department has announced the release of a Law Reform Commission report on adult prostitution for public comment.

The report has taken at least two years to complete and is aimed at reviewing the fragmented legislative framework which regulates adult prostitution.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha clarified that this report is not a policy decision of government, but will first be put out for public comment.

“A change of the law will only be embarked on if a policy decision has been made to do so and after that matter has been properly interrogated in Parliament.”

He says the Law Reform Commission's preferred option is to retain a totally criminalised legal framework.

“This option is coupled with an opportunity for people in prostitution to divert out of the criminal justice system, so that they can access supportive resources and systems in order to exit prostitution if they should choose to do so.”

“CHANGING THE LAW COULD CREATE DANGEROUS CULTURAL SHIFT”

Masutha says simply changing the laws related to prostitution without proper consideration for the impact could make those who offer the services more vulnerable.

He adds the Law Reform Commission’s report notes that exploitation of prostitutes is not simply the result of it being criminalised.

“Exploitation, particularly of women, is inherent in prostitution and depends on contingent internal factors related to gender violence, inequality and poverty.”

He says changing the law could create an extremely dangerous cultural shift.

“As juxtaposed against the high rate of sexual crimes that are committed against women and may render them even more vulnerable.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)