We bemoan the fact that Edwin Cameron, from the Constitutional Court Justice, has probably been “ensnared” by certain pro-prostitution groups. We feel betrayed. We understand that Cameron has applauded ‘sex workers’ as hard workers and in need of police protection (to conduct their work?). How dare he, take it upon himself to sell off our women and girl children as prostitutes on an international stage! And this after the decision by our Deputy Minister of Justice, John Jeffery, not to legalise prostitution.
Jeffery’s stance is supported by a black majority of South African youth that has gathered more than 50 000 signatures, against the motion to decriminalise prostitution. We send our request to the Department of Justice in an open letter. It seems to us that John Jeffery has taken to heart our concerns below. We are now keen to support more leaders like him who, will protect our communities – they deserve our vote. We will be joining hands with other NGO’s Wednesday morning between 10:00-12:00, on the street corner opposite the ICC building in Durban to make our voice heard.
We consistently perceive that white-dominated organisations like SWEAT and now Cameron have no compassion on poor black woman. We argue that legalisation of prostitution will not solve the problem of poverty. Mandela’s legacy has shown us a way out of oppression; be educated to become doctors, advocates, teachers and chartered accountants. Why must we still experience oppression under coloniser’s misconstrued opinions in our own country? Statistics presented at the International AIDS conference, indicate HIV prevalence in female sex workers was 71.8 percent. We don’t want to be trapped into more violence, exploitation and diseases. What is bad for the body, is bad for the heart. It is no different to when apartheid laws were pushed down our throats. We ask ourselves if 71.8 per cent prostitutes contracted HIV, why decriminalise the act through which this disease is spreading to so many others? Could it be that this 71.8 per cent does not care? We see how young people are dying of HIV/AIDS (with more than 2 000 Sub-Sahara youth infected per day with HIV) and then leaders want us to think that ‘sex work’ must be allowed by the law and by us? Pimps will have an open door to traffic our young girls into slavery. We have had enough.
The age of consent was recently reduced to 12 years and the public was not consulted. Even the Nkosi’s and Indunas were not respected, their voice has been silenced. We are still oppressed by the views of a few whites who dictate what should be done in our communities and with our girl children. Now children are not even safe at school, or travelling to and from school.
Democracy, our hope and dreams for our children to excel is going down the drain.
Here are ten points why we find it very difficult to swallow the bitter consequences should the legalisation and decriminalisation of prostitution be pushed down our throats:
Legalisation / decriminalisation of prostitution:
1 does not only decriminalise the women in it, but it decriminalises the whole sex industry.
2 promotes human trafficking.
3 does not control the industry, it expands it.
4 increases clandestine, illegal and street prostitution.
5 increases child prostitution.
6 does not protect women in prostitution. It creates more risks and harm for women from already violent customers and pimps.
7 increases the demand for prostitution. It encourages men to buy women for sex in wider and a more permissible range of seeming socially acceptable settings.
8 does not promote women’s health. It is the male buyers who can and do originally transmit disease to the women they purchase.
9 does not enhance women’s choice.
10 is against what women/girls who have been trafficked want. One woman said: “No way. It’s not a profession. It is humiliating, and exposes me to violent men’s abuse and violence.”
We have researched all these points above, and proved them to be legitimate. But we keep on asking ourselves, why then do legislators still want to force prostitution down our throats? Could it perhaps be that some individuals in high places want to line their pockets (and maybe get rid of us) by thus legally exploiting our children?
CYPSA Vice Spokesperson:
Mamazane Maphanga – 083 271 0521