ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley said on Thursday, December 21 2017 that “the ACDP is concerned but not surprised by the decision of the ANC Congress to fully decriminalise sex work in South Africa”.
The announcement was made at a media briefing on the social transformation Commission resolutions on the last day of the 54th ANC National Elective Conference in Johannesburg.
Decriminalisation would mean criminal penalties would be removed for sex workers as well as those buying sex.
Funded campaigns push interests of organised crime syndicates
The ACDP has often called on government and MP’s not to be taken in by well funded campaigns for decriminalisation of Prostitution. Funded campaigns which MP Dudley says “push the interests of the multi-billion dollar industry run by organised crime syndicates.”
“Clearly the ANC branch representatives are not thinking about the increased risk of abuse of women and children when prostitution becomes an acceptable career choice. They are also conveniently ignoring the fact that ‘capture’ of individuals, communities and the state comes in many guises — with legalising of prostitution being a major strategy.” Dudley said.
MP Cheryllyn Dudley, repeated the ACDP view that: “decriminalising prostitution will facilitate increased incidence of AIDS, violence against women and children, and rape — making it far more difficult to prove rape and abuse. To protect women and children this ill-considered and highly manipulative decision must be challenged by ANC Members, Members of Parliament and Government.”
According to the 19th edition of the South African Health Review, South Africa has over 150 000 adult sex workers and over 38 000 child prostitutes.
Dudley said “The Deputy President of SA has spoken of programmes for sex workers to promote safe sex yet studies show that programmes to promote safe sex practices are notorious for failing. Not only are many STDs transferred by skin contact alone, but poor mental health, low self-esteem and drug habits undermine motivation and the ability to adopt safer sex behaviours.”
She pointed out that “decriminalising prostitution creates a buyer’s market rather than a seller’s market and competition for customer’s increases. Sex workers desperate for cash would then be under more pressure to accept lower remuneration and unsafe sex.
Out of step with the rest of the world
Moves to decriminalise prostitution in South Africa are also out of step with the rest of the world. Prostitution is in fact illegal in over 90% of the world and in countries where it has been decriminalised, increases in child sex trafficking and HIV rates are the norm. More prostitutes suffer with PTSD — post traumatic stress disorder — than war veterans returning from war.”
France, one of several countries now criminalising prostitution, has made the buying of sex illegal in an effort to abolish the selling or trafficking of women into sexual slavery and in Germany since prostitution was made legal sex worker numbers have increased to over 400 000 with more than half of these workers being from other countries.
The new ANC policy borrows from New Zealand’s policy — interestingly, NZ is the only country to have decriminalised sex work.
Sex work is currently a criminal offense in SA — a country reported to have some of the highest percentages of sexual violence in the world.
“This is not the first time that the ANC has expressed support for the decriminalisation of sex work aligning with the view and efforts of the Democratic Alliance DA in this regard. Government, which is only too aware of the problems have until now, however resisted this agenda. Pro decriminalisation advocates keep saying sex workers will be better able to access health facilities, social workers and doctors — this is misleading because it has long been a priority of government to ensure sex workers have access to these services.”
“The ACDP once again calls on government and members of parliament not to place women and children in greater danger by decriminalising prostitution for both sex workers and users. This will increase the problem of ‘blessers’ as it plays into their hands. Encouraging young people from all social and economic circumstances — but especially from impoverished communities — to flock to cities deceived into thinking prostitution is the easy way out of their problems or the easiest way to make money is wicked and shameful.”