Human Rights Watch

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South Africa: Decriminalize Sex Work

Why Sex Work Should be Decriminalised in South Africa

Wednesday 07 August 2019


(Johannesburg, August 7, 2019) — South African authorities are compromising the safety and wellbeing of women and obstructing efforts to end the HIV pandemic by treating sex work as a crime, Human Rights Watch and the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) said in a report released today. South Africa should decriminalise the exchange of sex for money by consenting adults.“Sex workers in South Africa face arrest, detention, harassment and abuse from police, which also deters them from reporting rape or other brutal attacks against them,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, acting deputy executive director for programme at Human Rights Watch. “All over the world we and other rights groups find the same patterns of abuse where sex work is criminalised.”

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