The great sex work debate

Source (institute/publication)
The Voice/BBC

Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, hit the headlines this week when he spoke out in favour of the decriminalisation of sex work.

The Voice reported that:

Speaking at the third and last meeting of the National AIDS Council (NAC) in Gaborone recently, Mogae, who is also the head of the organisation, said even though sex work was frowned upon, it is a real social problem which should be dealt with.

He argued that decriminalising sex work would pave way for policies to deal with the issue and protect those engaged in the trade. Police officers have better things to do than chase after prostitutes, Mogae said.

Last week The Voice carried a story of a former Francistown prostitute, Lizzy Chauke who decried the harassment and abuse she suffered suffered at the hands of both the police and unscrupulous clients in a career that spans over two decades.

It is this kind of harassment that Mogae hopes would be brought to an end by decriminalisation of prostitution.

A  BBC article on Mogae's announcement stated that:

A government spokesman on HIV/AIDS told the BBC homosexuality and prostitution would remain illlegal until the government concluded wide-ranging consultations to see whether there was a need to change the law...

"To protect them and their clients from being infected, you have to assist them to protect themselves. I don't think by arresting them you help them," Mr Mogae said.