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Advocacy group calls for financial relief for sex workers during lockdown

Advocacy group Sweat says sex workers cannot apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund because their work is not recognised as 'work' in South Africa.

FILE: Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) members gathered outside the Western Cape High Court today. Picture: Chanel September/EWN

CAPE TOWN – A sex worker advocacy group is urgently calling on government to assist sex workers who will not be earning an income during the lockdown period.

According to the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) there are more than 150,000 sex workers in South Africa, and most of them are black women.

Sweat's Nosipho Vidima said: “So now you see these workers going home, where they are supporting seven or more people. There’s not going to be consistent income; there’s not going to be income at all. On top of that they are not getting relief from government.”

Vidima said sex workers could not apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund because their work was not recognised as 'work' in South Africa.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

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