02/12/12 – ACDP says SA women did not beat apartheid to sell their bodies for a living

ACDP says SA women did not beat apartheid to sell their bodies for a living

 

Johannesburg, December 2, 2012 – “South African women did not beat apartheid to sell their bodies for a living,” said Dr Lydia Meshoe, MPL and Gauteng leader of the African Christian Deomcratic Party (ACDP), today. “Prostitution is a practice that abuses and exploits women and we call on government to bring an end to it and to assist women who have become trapped in this lifestyle.”

 

The ACDP’s Vikiela (isiZulu: Protect) campaign is bringing attention to prostitution and a number of other issues that the party believes need to be addressed during this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Woman and Child Abuse campaign.

 

Meshoe urged government not to consider legalising prostitution as that would be an offence to the dignity of all women. “It would also ignore the opinions of most South Africans, increase divorce and expose even more unsuspecting wives to HIV,” she added.

 

“Regulating prostitution is not an easy option either – taxing the earnings of prostitutes would in effect make the state a pimp. It would also be a gift to organised crime, offering drug-dealers a legitimate “business front” because in South Africa, drugs and prostitution go hand in hand,” Meshoe said.

 

Furthermore, an overwhelming body of international evidence, from countries that have experimented with decriminalising prostitution, shows that the abuse and exploitation of women and children trapped in prostitution does not decline where there is decriminalisation, in fact, the opposite is true. Trafficking in women – and the horrific abuse that goes along with that – also increases and it becomes difficult to hold traffickers and pimps accountable for abusing women.

 

Most women who become prostitutes would not have chosen to do so, but are instead victims of circumstance. Prostitutes usually suffer psychological, and economic abuse as well, with pimps withholding earnings and the women regularly enduring insults and other verbal abuse.

 

ACDP MP, Cherillyn Dudley, has called for exit programmes to help prostitutes rebuild their lives. “Women who sell their bodies to feed their children must be helped to find decent work and government must fix education so that all our girl children can leave school properly qualified.”

 

The ACDP would like to applaud those heroes in the police force who have been involved in uncovering and fighting this crime. In 2010 warrant officer Magda Scholtz arrested sex workers in Ermelo, and instead of dismissing them as criminals, took the time to treat them as human beings and investigated further, finding that they were in fact victims of trafficking. This case saw nine suspects being taken into custody for obliterating these women’s rights.

 

“Cases like this one highlight how prostitution can often be the tip of an iceberg that also involves trafficking, drugs, assault and more,” Meshoe said. “We call on government to recognise the hugely destructive power of prostitution and to act accordingly, with the wellbeing of all South African women in mind.”

 

/ends.

 

 

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