CGE ‘step closer’ to having sex work decriminalised

Parliament tabled the Commission for Gender Equality’s investigative report into the impact of police abuse against sex workers.

FILE: Members of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) demand decriminalisation of sex work. Picture: Sweat

CAPE TOWN - The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) says it is one step closer to having sex work decriminalised.

Parliament on Friday tabled the commission’s investigative report into the impact of police abuse against sex workers.

The report also recommends that sex work is decriminalised in South Africa.

The Commission for Gender Equality’s report follows a lengthy investigation into complaints by numerous sex workers, alleging gross human rights violations and harassment on the part of the police.

The first leg of the investigation related to complaints by sex workers and the second part focused on the decriminalisation of sex work.

Commission spokesperson Javu Baloyi has welcomed the publishing of the report by Parliament, saying it goes a long way in their mission to have sex work ultimately decriminalised.

“We've raised these issues in the past before the Portfolio Committee on Women in The Presidency and others in the House, and worked with civil society... so we’re getting there. And remember the African National Congress during its 54th National Conference agreed to decriminalise sex work.”

The commission says South Africa’s current legislation on sex work fails to conform to international, regional and domestic law in relation to violence against women and equality.

It will now be up to Parliament to decide how it takes the matter forward.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)