A group representing thousands of South African sex workers will Monday take to the streets across the country in commemoration of International Sex Worker Rights' Day. The global event is used to call for an end to injustices against sex workers, and to demand the recognition of sex work.
The International Sex Worker Rights' Day was first celebrated on 3 March 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival.
Since then, sex worker groups across the world have commemorated the day.
Sex workers and human rights' activist will be marching to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development offices in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Limpopo, to hand over memoranda of grievances detailing the atrocious human right violations sex workers are currently experiencing under criminalisation.
'This year we are specifically targeting the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development as they are meant to help the nation uphold justice for all as enshrined in our Constitution. But under criminalisation of sex work in this country our human rights are violated with impunity,” said Kholi Buthelezi, the National Coordinator of the Sex Workers' Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT).
In 2000, the South African Law Reform Commission initiated legislative reform of South Africa's legal system's response to sex work under the Sexual Offences Act 'Adult Prostitution' Law Reform Project.
'It's been fourteen years that sex workers have been raising their voices in South Africa but we still need to attend marches wearing masks or face paints to hide ourselves from police who torture us, nurses that discriminate against us at clinics, and communities that stigmatise us,” said SWEAT’s Cape Town spokesperson Leigh Davids.