By Thabo Monyela
TZANEEN- Sex work remains one of the highest hotspots to violence abuses such as Gender-based violence, sexual abuse, because its operation is considered a crime under law in the country.
The increase of prostitution in the country is factored by social and economic factors in which poverty and unemployment are at the centre of it.
Since the dawn of democracy, sex workers movements have been up in their arms fighting for the legitimization of sex work, in order for the industry to become safer under proper regulations, however the overdue delay by the government in decriminalizing it continues to pose a great danger to the lives of those in the industry.
As part of celebrating international Woman’s Day on Tuesday, March 8, the Hoedspruit-Based Training Trust, Hlokomela Wellness Programme exploded various streets from Spoornet railway to Agatha Street in Tzaneen town, with a march that did not only aim to create awareness about sex workers’ rights but also raise awareness on the prevention of HIV, STIs and TB amongst sex workers.
“The push for the decriminalisation of sex workers is to protect them from any sort of abuse and infections of diseases.
The societies should respect them on the decision they made in creating employment for themselves without labelling it a taboo” said Hlokomela advocacy officer, Amanda Mgimeti.
Sisonke Marchin in Tzaneen Town
In outlining the role of Hlokomela Wellness Programme, Mgimeti said their role is to reach out sex workers and give them both clinical and psychological services with their daily struggles.
“Should a sex worker test HIV positive, we link them to clinical care and those who are mentally burdened we refer them to our social workers for help” she added.
Talking to Capricorn FM, Sisonke Sex Workers Movement’s Linda Dumba, which is a movement of Sex workers by sex workers said in 2016 President Ramaphosa, while he was the Deputy President during the Sex Work Programme did promise them the decriminalisation of sex work, however are still waiting for the fulfilment of that promise.