Government to support prostitutes so they don't go out of business


Government wants to include sex workers in social development programmes.

Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said this during an online dialogue with sex worker advocacy groups yesterday.

She said the department would be reviewing progress on its sex worker strategy and discuss the next phase of its plans.

“October is Social Development Month, and we’re on a quest to ensure we build a caring, self-sustainable society,” she said.

Bogopane-Zulu said the department wanted to explore challenges sex workers faced during lockdown.

“Sex workers continue to be the subject of human rights violations and gender-based violence,” she said.

“These challenges have been heightened by the outbreak of the coronavirus.”

Bogopane-Zulu said social behavioural change programmes needed to be reviewed to include sex workers.

The department had partnered with sex workers to make sure the rights of children are protected.

“We’ll partner with organisations across the country to ensure that as sex workers, your children aren’t put into foster care while you’re still alive.

“We’ll ensure the decriminalisation of sex work and ensure that you have access to information on female and male condoms, and access to pregnancy preventative measures.”

The deputy minister was joined by Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffrey, Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale, Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla and Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Hlengiwe Mkhize.

Phaahla said HIV infection rates were high among sex workers, with 54% being infected, and the highest number of infections being in Joburg.

“HIV testing services have been extended into communities for better access. We hope there will be progress in the decriminalisation of sex work,” he said.

Mathale said the police force was committed to making sure that members who take money from sex workers were dealt with.

The dialogue was also in collaboration with the South African National Aids Council, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and UNAids.

– Dailysun

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