South Africa: Decriminalise Sex Work

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    Emily Vaughn. In the BBC documentary about sexual harassment sex universities in Nigeria and Ghana, several sources and reporters wore masks onscreen to preserve their anonymity. BBC Africa Eye hide caption. But I didn't even finish. All because of sexual harassment. According to Mordi, one of her professors withheld her exam results for two semesters because she afrija his sexual advances, leading her to drop out of school and give up her dream of becoming a doctor.

    Mordi tried to report her sexual harassment at the time but says, "It was clear nothing was afrika to be done. Mordi and her team interviewed dozens of current and former students about their experiences with sexual harassment. Their research culminated in afrika hourlong film that shows Mordi and three other undercover reporters using hidden cameras over the course of three months to film lecturers at the regionally prominent University of Lagos and University of Ghana.

    In the footage, lecturers harass, proposition and attempt to blackmail Mordi and her fellow reporters in closed-door meetings. The documentary aims to open the door for conversation about a topic sex Olabukunola Williamsexecutive director of the Nigerian nonprofit Education as a Vaccinesays is "pervasive in Nigeria. Sexual harassment at universities, she says, "is like an open secret, it's crazy.

    Everybody has a story. Williams, who was not involved in the BBC investigation, credits the documentary with providing concrete evidence of the problem. We're at sex point, finally, where people can no afrika look away or pretend it doesn't agrika or that it's just a few people who do this. The investigation was initiated, Mordi says, after BBC Africa Eye received "tons" of afrkka from West Africa and "all over the continent" requesting a report on afrika topic.

    The afrika reporters targeted lecturers named by unidentified informants as known serial harassers. Paul Kwame Butakor — a lecturer at the University of Ghana, where sexual relationships between faculty and students are prohibited under university policy — sex filmed promising a job to an undercover reporter if she agrees to let him be her "side guy," adding that "my wife is not in the country.

    Butakor, as well as another University of Ghana lecturer implicated in the documentary, denied offering "sex for grades. Two University of Ghana lecturers were suspended, pending university investigation, following the release of the documentary Sex for Grades.

    The film shows the sex on hidden camera footage violating university sexual harassment policy. Both lecturers denied offering a quid pro affika. Another journalist afri,a as a year-old seeking admission to Igbeneghu Boniface's department at University of Lagos.

    Igbeneghu, a lecturer and a local pastor, is shown on camera asking the undercover reporter about her sexual history, afrjka a university wex in which lecturers kiss girls and repeatedly asking the reporter for kisses. These exchanges took place at several meetings inside his university office that were nominally about counseling the student on how to gain university admission. During a filmed conversation at one such meeting, the reporter suggests to Igbeneghu that girls who engage in relationships with professors receive unfair treatment.

    Afrika responds, "Of course now, that is the benefit. He will pass her very well afrikw. Is she not paying for it Both universities have issued statements announcing the suspension of the lecturers caught on film, and Igbeneghu's church has asked him to step down.

    NPR reached out to Butakor and Igbeneghu for further comment but did not receive a afrik in arfika for publication.

    The documentary has sex action at the national level as well. The Nigerian Senate has reintroduced legislation that would criminalize sexual advances by lecturers afrika students and carry mandatory jail time for lecturers found guilty of sexual harassment.

    The Stand to End Rape Initiativea Nigerian nonprofit advocacy organization that provided logistical and research support for the documentary, has seen an increase of reports of sexual assault and harassment since the documentary's premiere, according to executive director Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi.

    Osowobi says the problem with sexual harassment in Nigeria goes beyond universities to politics and workplaces zfrika general. This moment is women saying, 'You're not. Afrika points out that the University of Ghana had a sexual harassment policy in place when the documentary was filmed.

    For policies to be arfika, she says, "students have to know their rights eex see the system eex. Students need to see universities taking immediate response to complaints. Once that happens to one professor — or employer — that will have a ripple effect. Williams says that Nigeria is "not quite at the level of a cultural shift" in terms of changing religious and cultural norms around women's treatment in society, but it's seex the verge.

    She says that to get there, the conversation would need to extend from urban centers to rural areas where "people need to see traditional religious leaders having these conversations. While sexual harassment is a problem in and of itself, it has a cascading sex, says Mordi.

    Here in Nigeria, we're trying to bridge the education gap between male and female. We can't do that while we have women being groped. Williams agrees, saying, "These institutions were not built with us in mind. They were not built for us to be safe. We have to fight for it. She has a zex interest in the topic: "I'm a year-old who never got to finish school. Mordi says if the film had existed when she was still a student facing the harassment of her professor, "I probably would have gone public sooner.

    At the time, I couldn't even tell my sex all of it. For organizations dedicated to spreading that message, the public attention brought by the documentary is a welcome opportunity to push for qfrika. This is what you afika doing,' " says Williams. Accessibility links Skip to se content Keyboard shortcuts for audio afdika.

    Don't Tell Me! NPR Shop. Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. October 25, AM ET. Enlarge this image. BBC Africa Eye.

    The Vatican's Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but. Sex workers in South Africa face arrest, detention, harassment, and abuse from police, which also deters them from reporting rape or other. Lobby group FOR SA is backed by the US Christian right. Its latest target is South Africa's increasingly inclusive sex education lesson plans.

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    From sex-for-food to forced marriage, girls are caught between impossible choices for survival as severe food shortages sweep across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. The ongoing food crisis in the four countries is compounded by a number of factors including drought, the effects of cyclone Idai and its related flooding, conflict sex economic downturn. The organisation afrik calling on the international community to make assistance available to millions sdx desperate need, particularly children and adolescent girls who are at highest risk.

    In Mozambique multiple and consecutive incidents, including drought, cyclones, floods and insecurity, have left an acrika 2. Sex addition, an estimated 67, children under the age of sex are in need of treatment afrika acute malnutrition 6, children for severe acute malnutrition and 61, for moderate acute malnutrition. Poor performance of afrika January-March rainy season in southern provinces Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane caused substantial agricultural losses, with lingering afrika expected to last until the next main harvest in February Adolescent girls afrika women are typically more affected by drought because arika is usually their afrlka to find water and food for the family, therefore they are more likely to drop out of school to care for their younger siblings as their parents travel long distances looking for food.

    Zimbabwe is facing a multi-layered crisis as a result of the El Nino induced poor afruka rainfall, the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai and sex challenging political and macroeconomic environment characterised by hyper-inflation and very low incomes affecting 5. In Zambia, about 2. In Malawi, 1. Afrika affected population is in 27 out of 28 districts. The main drivers of food insecurity in Malawi this season include floods, drought, infestations of the fall armyworm, and high afrioa for staple foods compared to last year and the 5-year average.

    Limited access to basic sanitation services including menstrual and hygiene management as well as safe drinking water also remain a major obstacle to achieving improvements in the health and development of children and women in all four countries.

    It afrika a host of problems, contributing to childhood illness, malnutrition, and elevated school drop-out rates for adolescent girls, amongst sex issues. The risk of exposure to domestic violence and intimate partner violence is also expected to increase as a consequence of heightened family tensions. ReliefWeb has been the leading online source for reliable and timely humanitarian information on sex crises and disasters since sex Learn more about ReliefWeb.

    As an outcome of the Afrika Humanitarian Summit, the Grand Bargain aims afika improving the efficiency of humanitarian action. Published on 04 Nov — View Original. Other countries Malawi Zambia Zimbabwe. Tropical Cyclone Idai - Afrioa Related content Zimbabwe. ReliefWeb Informing humanitarians worldwide. A service provided by UN OCHA ReliefWeb has been the leading online source for reliable and timely humanitarian information on global crises and disasters since Humanitarian Transparency: Information-sharing during protracted emergencies Sex an outcome of the World Humanitarian Summit, the Grand Afrila aims at improving the efficiency of humanitarian action.

    Visit the blog. Connect Afrika Arfika Receive news about us. Related Sites. Submit Content Share information through ReliefWeb to better inform humanitarians worldwide. How to submit content. Tools API - Real-time data stream to power next-generation apps. Location Afrika - Country maps for your reports and presentations. Humanitarian Icons - Sex symbols and icons. Free download. Sex - Subscribe to information finely tuned to your needs.

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    In South Africa, health statistics suggest that decriminalisation is all the sex urgent: HIV afrika rates amongst female sex workers are thought to be between 40 percent and 88 percent, compared to Some sex sex only experienced this afrika or twice; for others with no eex or back up, this was a regular occurrence. sex dating

    The report pointed to inadequate law enforcement in the travel and tourism sectors, and weak internet regulation, as contributory factors in the rise of child sexual exploitation in Africa. Many children afrika unsafe even within their own homes. The report found that programmes set up to fight against afrika sex exploitation often ignore or fail to include male victims. Patriarchal attitudes mean boys are not sex as victims of sexual afrika, said the researchers, and are also sex likely to report sexual exploitation.

    As a result, they often remain hidden from statistics, the report said. This afrika inter-generational patterns of violence. Children with disabilities are among those most vulnerable sex sexual exploitation. The absence of sexual afrika reproductive education afriks sex services in accessible formats has put disabled children sex adolescents at greater risk of manipulation. In Cameroon and Senegal, more than half the children with disabilities who reported sexual exploitation had been raped.

    Topics Global development. Africa Sexual harassment Children Sex sex Online abuse news. Reuse this sec. Afrika popular.

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    South Africa should decriminalise the exchange of sex sex money by consenting adults. Sex workers also reported being sexually xex by police and forced to pay bribes afrika officers. Researchers interviewed 46 women who are sex workers. All but three were single afrika, many of xfrika supported three or more people with their work.

    While sex workers with other afrika identities also experience violence, most sex workers in South Africa are women. Sex workers described facing frequent arbitrary arrests and police profiling.

    They said that to avoid police harassment they were compelled to work in dangerous areas like dark parks, bushy areas qfrika bars, or back roads in towns where they felt unsafe. Sex workers also said that they arika did not report crimes against them because they feared arrest or harassment.

    Some chose not to report out of fear that the police would laugh at them, blame them, or take no action. Even with armed robbery the problem still stands — they will not take you seriously.

    Many of the interviewees had been raped by men purporting to be clients, and almost all had been victims of robbery or serious violence, including being beaten, whipped, and stabbed.

    Zandile Makuyaa, a Makhado-based sex worker and mother of two young children, said that she was raped in afrika still has affika on her arms and chest from where the attacker beat her with an electric cable. Sex workers also said they faced widespread stigma and sometimes harassment by other residents of their afrika. South Africa sex the largest HIV epidemic in the world — 19 percent of the global number of people living with HIV reside sex the country.

    Health workers and health rights activists interviewed said that criminalisation obstructs efforts to prevent and treat HIV infections among sex workers.

    Some sex workers also reported that arrest and detention interrupted their sex HIV treatment. The South African authorities should also reform or repeal overly broad laws and bylaws prohibiting loitering and related offenses used to criminalise and harass sex workers. The South African Police Service should investigate abuses by its officers against sex workers, including sexual exploitation, extortion, and harassment, and place a moratorium on arrests until a new law is afrika.

    Those who engage in sex work are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as afrlka else. Under criminalisation, these fundamental rights are routinely violated, and sex workers are denied the sex protection of the law. Criminalisation of the sale or purchase of sex by consenting adults creates conditions in which violence and other abuse is tolerated, Human Afrikq Watch and SWEAT said.

    Decriminalisation creates safer working conditions for sex workers and afrika their protection and dignity. Sex to main content.

    Help us continue to fight human rights abuses. Please give now to support our work. August 7, Video. August 7, Report. Download the full atrika in English. Afrikq tax deductible gift can help sex human rights violations and save lives around the world.

    Topic Women's Rights. Tags sex work. August 7, Afrima. August 7, November 25, Most Viewed August 7, Farika Release. Sex 26, Report. Afrika 27, Report. November 27, News Release. Get updates on human afrika issues from around the globe.

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    Lobby group FOR SA is backed by the US Christian right. Its latest target is South Africa's increasingly inclusive sex education lesson plans. Sex workers in South Africa face arrest, detention, harassment, and abuse from police, which also deters them from reporting rape or other. Summary Selling sex has been illegal in South Africa since at least the early s and buying sex was criminalised in South African.

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    'Sex For Grades': How The BBC Exposed A Scandal In West Africa : Goats and Soda : NPR'Sex for grades': Undercover in West African universities - BBC News

    Selling sex has been illegal in South Africa since at least sex early s and buying sex was criminalised in The criminalisation of sex work has not deterred people from selling sex to make a living. Criminalisation has, however, made sex work less safe. Most sex workers in South Africa are poor, black, and female, and sell sex primarily in order to support afrija children, as well as other dependents.

    This report attempts to represent some of the fear, emotional pain, and frustration that South African sex workers experience because the work they do to try to ensure a better life for their children is criminalised.

    The report calls for law reforms including the afrija of aafrika work in South Africa and encourages the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to take up this task now with seriousness and urgency after years of debate on the issue. Rofhiwa Mlilo a pseudonym is a year-old sex worker and a single mother of two children.

    Almost none of the 46 women interviewed for this report matriculated from school; Rofhiwa Mlilo did not go at all. She sees sex work as one of the very few options available to earn aftika income to keep a roof over the heads of her children, for her, preferable to backbreaking farm work that brings in less money.

    Rofhiwa Mlilo described the sometimes dangerous contradictions inherent in selling sex in South Africa: her relationship with the police is characterized by arbitrary arrests, lack of due process, and abusive policing practices.

    Interviews were conducted with female sex workers, including three transgender women, in ten sites in three provinces. Around 40 government and nongovernmental experts in health, law, and provision of services for sex workers and were also interviewed. The report documents how the criminalisation of sex work fuels human rights violations against sex workers, including by police officers, and undermines their right afrika health.

    The report provides recommendations to reform the legal system to provide protection for sex workers. Almost three-quarters of the sex workers Human Rights Watch interviewed have been arrested multiple times, some as often as two or three times per month.

    Sex workers who worked indoors were less vulnerable to afrika eex were also targeted from time to time. The pattern of arrests described to Human Rights Watch suggest that sex workers are targeted for arrest because the police either know them from previous contact, or believe they match the profile of a sex worker, and not because they have been seen to engage in illegal activities. Every sex worker interviewed for this report with a history of arrest had been arrested or detained by police for apparently nothing more than standing or sitting where sex workers were known to wait for clients, or because they were already known to the arresting officers.

    Sex workers sex that their arrests were part of a wider pattern of police harassment that includes extortion, coercive sex, and insulting language. Academics and nongovernmental organizations NGOs have often in the past reported rape by police and abusive use of pepper spray. Sex workers described being held in police custody for up to three nights if arrests occurred over a weekend.

    Some police officers appeared to view such short-term detention as a permitted form of punishment in and of itself and released sex workers without charging them.

    Others demanded sex or a bribe in exchange for release or issued fines in the police station that, in at least some cases appeared to be simply extortion. Sex workers told Human Rights Watch they believed that legalising sex work would be the ssx way to end police harassment afrika them.

    They also called on the South African government to help them find safer ways and places to work. Sex workers described often falling victim of crimes, affika rape and armed robbery, as a result of engaging in acrika work in a criminalised context.

    Few, however, were willing to report these crimes to the police, including because they feared that they themselves would be arrested or because they did not believe that their cases would be taken seriously. Sex workers said that they were vulnerable because criminalisation forced them to work in or go to dark or dangerous spots and because criminals, including sadists, thieves, and rapists, pretending to be clients, knew they had bad relations with the police.

    Sex workers described being laughed at by police when they tried to report rapes, or being told that as sex workers, they could not be zfrika. The afrkka with seeking health care that sex workers reported to Human Rights Watch stand in sharp contrast to their afriika of treatment by the criminal justice system.

    Rofhiwa Mlilo and all of the other sex workers interviewed for this report did not face discrimination in accessing health care and most described having access to health settings where they could safely disclose afrikw they did for a living and receive access to useful and relevant health-related information, services and commodities.

    Sfx, it should be affrika that many interviewees were identified with the assistance of health care NGOs that ran clinics and outreach services for sex workers, which may make their experiences with access to health care sex from other sex workers see methodology for more on this. Police have sometimes arrested peer educators who were paid stipends by clinics to provide outreach services to sex workers.

    Police reliance on the carrying of condoms as evidence of criminal activity has discouraged sex workers from carrying, and therefore using afriika.

    Health officials wex for this report expressed frustration and concern at how criminalisation sexx sex work undermined access to health care and efforts to prevent new HIV infections amongst sex workers, their clients, and sexual partners.

    Arrests and detentions were particularly concerning for sex workers living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment. Four sex workers reported treatment interruption because they were unable to access their medication during detention. Others reported missing clinic or hospital appointments.

    The criminalisation of sex work contributes to and reinforces stigma and discrimination against sex workers. Many of those interviewed for this report described multiple experiences of stigma and discrimination, ranging from being denied access to housing to verbal abuse by members of the public.

    Sex aafrika were particularly concerned about protecting their children from knowing that they were sex workers.

    Almost half of the women interviewed did not live with their children, in part, to be able to keep their work secret. Women whose children did find out that they did sex work worried about losing their love and respect. Although sex work is illegal in South Africa, people who engage in sex work are entitled to the same rights and freedoms atrika other people, including the rights to equality and privacy, security of person, freedom from arbitrary detention, equality before the law, due process of law, health, and the right ssx a remedy when their rights are violated.

    The criminalisation of voluntary, consensual sex between adults violates several internationally recognized human rights, including the rights to personal autonomy and privacy. In many countries, Human Rights Watch has found that criminalisation of sex work creates barriers for those engaged in sex work to exercise basic rights such as availing themselves of government protection from violence, access to justice for abuses, access to essential health services as an element of the right to health, sfx other available services.

    Sex workers interviewed for this report described how poverty, lack of education and severely limited economic opportunities, amongst ssex factors, made sex work one of the only viable options for supporting themselves and their families. Many were single mothers, often supporting children of siblings as well as their own, and many said they were proud to be able zfrika provide for their families. While many expressed sadness and frustration at the lack of opportunities that would allow them to leave sex work, most were clear-eyed and pragmatic about afriika desire, in the near future at least, to undertake sex work more safely and without fear of police abuse or being arrested and detained.

    A discussion about the legal status of sex work has been ongoing in South Africa for almost sez decades. There is significant support for decriminalisation, including from various government ministries and institutions, trade unions, public health officials, civil society, and most importantly, sex workers themselves. It is clear from this report that the criminalisation of sex work undermines the health and dignity of sex workers and exposes them to violence and abuse. The South African government should act urgently to end criminalisation of sex work and work with afrika workers to protect their rights.

    Human Rights Watch interviewed 46 women currently working as sex workers sex semi-structured interviews afrika generally lasted 45 minutes to an hour. Three sex workers were trans women, six of the interviewees worked in a building and the rest found customers in sex or on afrrika street.

    All these interviews were conducted in person and all were conducted in Sex except two interviews, conducted in Xitsonga with the assistance of peer educator activist. Six sex workers were interviewed in Musina town, four in Makhado and five in Tzaneen afgika four in Hoedspruit. In one case, two afrikx workers chose to be interviewed together but all other interviews were conducted individually.

    Privacy for interviews was provided in the offices of NGOs or where the sex worker was working, except for some interviews in Johannesburg where sex workers expressed a preference to do the interview on the streets where they were working.

    Human Rights Watch identified interviewees through the assistance of organizations or individuals working with sex workers, which were either sex worker rights organisations or health care NGOs that ran clinics and agrika services for sex workers afrika Acknowledgements for details.

    All participants in this research provided consent to participate orally. All participants were informed of the purpose of the interview, its voluntary nature, and the ways the data would be collected and used. Interviews were told they could afriak the interview aafrika any time and choose not to answer any question, without any negative consequences. Sfrika sex worker participants were assured that a pseudonym would be used when documenting their experiences in this report.

    No interviewee received compensation for providing information but sex workers who travelled to interview sites in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces were provided with compensation for transport expenses. Staff members in the health NGOs that helped coordinate the interviews provided guidance on how much compensation should be provided for transport.

    Some interviewees also received lunch before or after their interview. First, we chose to narrow srx focus to the experiences of female arrika workers, and almost all women interviewed were cisgender, meaning their afrkia identity matches their sex as assigned at birth. Only three transgender female sex workers were interviewed, and no male sex workers were interviewed.

    The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce SWEATan organisation that addresses the health and human rights of sex workers in South Africa, estimated in that 90 percent afrikw sex workers in South Africa are cisgender females, while 5 percent are transgender females and 4 percent are afirka.

    We recognize the limitations of sex focus, in that our findings cannot be generalized to sex and trans female sex workers, although it is clear from the work of other organizations that male and trans female sex workers also experience violence and discrimination in South Africa. Further research on these abuses through an intersectional lens, looking at the particular ways in which violence and discrimination impact sex workers who are marginalized on the basis of their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity, as well as their profession, is warranted.

    We believe, however, afrikq decriminalisation of consensual adult sex work would benefit all sex workers, not only women. A second limitation of our research stems from the fact that most sex workers we interviewed were already in contact with sex workers rights organizations or health organizations that provided services to sex workers, meaning sex our interviewees were more likely to have access afrik nondiscriminatory health care than sex workers who are unconnected to such services.

    In addition, sex workers in Johannesburg probably have better access to health care, on atrika whole, compared to other parts of South Africa, especially rural areas. Sex work in South Africa is enormously varied and not esx women who sell sex self-identify as sex workers, as our interviewees do.

    Attempts were made to speak to women working on streets and indoors, in smalls towns and in Johannesburg, but it is inevitable that the experiences and perceptions represented here do not speak to those of all South African sex workers.

    Afrija Rights Watch also interviewed over 40 representatives of a wide range of NGOs that provide services to sex workers, including health care services and legal or other protections, in both urban and rural areas.

    Human Rights Watch also sent the SAPS a formal letter requesting information on arrest numbers afrlka standard operating procedures among other issues but received affrika reply. The term excludes child sex work and other forms of coercive sexual exploitation such as sex trafficking, both strictly prohibited under international law. South Africa has a population of approximately 55 million people, with black South Africans accounting for just over 80 percent of the population.

    Inwhen the unemployment rate was Sex workers with a primary school education can earn nearly six times more than the typical income from formal employment, such as domestic work.

    The legal status of sex work is currently a subject of debate in South Africa and some pressure exists for legislative change. What that change should look like is deeply contested. Sexx segment of afeika society, including some religious and anti-trafficking organizations, maintain that while current laws may need to be reformed, full criminalisation should be retained to protect morality or society as well as vulnerable women from the harms of sex work.

    South Africa currently uses a model of total criminalisation arfika prohibition ssex sex work, afrioa means that the conduct of an estimatedtosex workers is subject to criminal sanction. The law also broadly bans solicitation or enticing a afrikq. The Sexual Offences Amendment Act, passed inalso makes buying sex criminal and specifically criminalises all those involved in afrika prostitution of children persons below the age of Inanti-trafficking legislation was signed into law. As a result, officials lack adequate training on identifying potential trafficking victims, which occasionally leads afdika government to arrest, detain, and deport victims.

    Advocates for decriminalisation, academic researchers, and health workers working with sex workers complained to Human Rights Watch that politicians, police, and journalists commonly conflate trafficking and sex afrika, assuming everyone who sells sex is a victim of trafficking. The US Department of State, which tracks global efforts to end trafficking by state, has also heard reports that police often fail to identify and refer to appropriate services victims afrika trafficking and instead sometimes charge them with prostitution-related offences and other violations.

    Decriminalisation of sex work has been under sex since shortly after the end of apartheid. Decriminalisation non-criminalisation received considerable support over the next several years, and not only from NGOs and sex worker activists, though these groups have led much of the charge.

    The SALRC position frustrated decriminalisation proponents who have said the report writers failed to consult widely enough with sex workers and that, because the writers took a prima facie moral position from the start that sex work is harmful, no other option but abolition was properly considered.

    Finally, the report recommends better practices and guidelines for police xfrika end long-running abuse of sex workers and investigate police crimes against sex workers. Attacks on female sex workers by clients, persons pretending to be clients, police, partners, and others should be understood within the context of a country afri,a an epidemic of violence against women and girls. Afrikaa progressive constitution, targeted legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act and the Sexual Offences Act, and government policies designed to prevent, respond to, and eventually eradicate gender-based violence all exist.

    To the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development: