Is Sex Work Legal in Sa
Sex workers are ideal targets of violence. Meeting clients in discreet places to hide their profession exposes them to client violence. They are also unlikely to report crimes if they fear being pursued and abused by the police. Research shows that almost half (45%) of South African sex workers who died in 2018 and 2019 were murdered. There are an estimated 167,000 sex workers in the country. Enforcement of labour laws is important for sex workers as it will help ensure occupational health and safety, access to the youth insurance fund, regulation of labour relations between brothel owners and sex workers, and legal assistance to seek redress in cases of injury or exploitation. Without this protection, sex workers are limited in their ability to enforce contracts, claim social assistance, obtain loans, or pursue civil family and property claims in court. Sex work continues to evolve and technology facilitates participation. The sooner we accept that “sex work is work,” the better.
Elsewhere, legislation legalizes sex work under certain conditions, such as regular medical examinations, licensing, and registration as a form of government control of sex workers. For example, sex work is legal in the Netherlands and in some jurisdictions in Australia, Germany and Nevada in the United States. Some African countries have a combination of legality and illegality. Legalization still doesn`t offer the broader freedom of decriminalization that will reduce stigma by doing sex work like any other work. In March 2012, the ANC Women`s League called for decriminalisation and said it would work to make it an ANC policy.  It is argued that decriminalization “would challenge the stigma surrounding sex workers. This would help protect their human rights and dignity and create safer working and living conditions for them.  Decriminalizing prostitution would limit police power over sex workers and discourage police or law enforcement from exploiting sex workers. Police enforcement is strict and the police, who accept and accept bribes from the police and their clients, is the order of the day.
In February 2022, John Jeffery, South Africa`s Deputy Minister of Justice, announced further consultations on the Law Reform Commission`s report. He said there was a need to “fully engage” with all stakeholders – including ministries – on the proposed policy options and their implications, given the diversity of views, despite public hearings on sex work. Talks continued in 2009 and 2017. But nothing came of it. The opportunity for change was recently missed again when the Sexual Offences and Related Matters (Amendment) Act failed to decriminalize sex work. In 2017, a report by the South African Law Reform Commission recommended that the current law be maintained (preferred option) or that prostitution should be decriminalized, but that third-party participation should remain illegal.  Both the sex worker and the client are still liable to prosecution and are forced to operate underground. Radio documentary – 30-year campaign for sex work law reform in South Australia. Hundreds of women from Thailand, China, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Asia and neighbouring African countries are trafficked to South Africa and forced into prostitution.
 Criminalization makes sex work less safe. It undermines sex workers` access to justice for crimes committed against them and exposes them to uncontrolled abuse and exploitation. There is fear, emotional pain and frustration among South African sex workers. Sex work is by no means a popular career choice. It is therefore unlikely that decriminalization will lead to an increase in sex work. In Jordan v. The State 2002(6) SA 642 (CC), a brothel owner, a brothel employee and a prostitute were convicted of violating the Sexual Offences Act and appealed against that decision on the grounds that the relevant provisions of the Sexual Offences Act were unconstitutional. The case involved an amicus curiae or friend of the court who had filed affidavits from sex workers in support of their submissions. It was clear from these affidavits that most of them, although motivated by the money to be earned, were at peace with their work. Sex workers on the streets of Sweden report harsher conditions since the introduction of partial decriminalization, as well as increased stigma and discrimination. There are several ways to regulate sex work.
These include criminalization, legalization, partial decriminalization and decriminalization. Sex work is a crime in South Africa, which means that any sex work done on the street or in brothels is illegal and monitored as such. It also recommended the continued use of public ordinances to deal with the “public nuisance” of “prostitutes”. The report refutes the argument that poverty is one of the reasons people engage in sex work, arguing that women should instead benefit from social interventions.