Report on possible decriminalisation of sex work to be made public

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cape Town – A report that speaks to a possible decriminalisation of sex work has been completed and will soon be made public, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

He said this when responding to questions from Members of Parliament in the National Assembly.

The Deputy President was asked what government’s position is on the decriminalisation of sex work, in light of the fact that sex workers remained the most vulnerable to HIV infection because of the continued criminalisation of sex work.

“The South African Law Reform Commission has completed its report on the issue of the possible decriminalisation of sex work,” the Deputy President said.

He said Cabinet has decided that the report should be released for public comment as part of a broader consultation process.
“Once comments have been received from the public, government will finalise a position on the various options proposed in the Law Reform Commission’s report,” he said

In 2016, the South African National Aids Council launched the National Sex Work Sector Plan to, among other things, reduce the spread of HIV among sex workers.
The plan provides for a standardised minimum package of services to be provided by all implementing partners within and outside of government.
The Deputy President said on Thursday that the core package of services has been designed to encompass the multi-faceted lives of sex workers.
“It calls for national coordination of a range of interventions to respond to the biomedical, behavioural and social and structural barriers that confront sex workers on a daily basis.

“Evidence indicates that effective HIV prevention, care and treatment packages for sex workers, their clients and their children should be tailored to local contexts, and that such interventions should be led and implemented by sex worker peers.

“The Sex Work Sector Plan, therefore, seeks to support sex workers not only with healthcare services, but it is also supporting them with human rights, psycho-social and economic empowerment services,” he said.

The Deputy President said as this work continues, all sectors of society are encouraged to support the National Sex Work Sector Plan, understanding that reduced infection rates among sex workers will impact on infection rates in the general population, while ensuring that the Constitutional rights of sex workers are protected. –

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