South Africa: Commission on Gender Equality calls for the decriminalisation of sex work

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The Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) has urged Parliamentarians to decriminalise sex work in South Africa. The CGE made the call as it presented a position paper on sex work in South Africa to parliamentarians in August, 2013.

"Decriminalisation means: repeal all laws against sex work," CGE commissioner Janine Hicks said at the announcement of the institution's position.

"We believe it is the only viable approach to promoting and protecting the dignity and rights of sex workers," she said, adding that trafficking and the abuse of children should remain crimes.

The release of the CGE’s position paper comes after the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) sets out four scenarios on sex work in a report released in May 2009: maintaining the status quo, partial criminalization, non-criminalization, or the "regulation of adult prostitution and prostitution-related acts."

The CGE said criminalisation violated the Constitution's sections 10, 12, and 22, which protected human dignity, freedom of security of the person, and freedom of trade, occupation, and profession.

Male and transgender sex workers are included in the CGE call for decriminalisation.

You can read more about NSWP member organisations working for sex workers' rights in South Africa here and here.