Several local commercial sex workers have come under attack by security officers, who allegedly manhandled and forced them into vehicles, and then dumped them in remote bushes in Richards Bay, Zululand Observer reports.
The incidents have reportedly occurred in the Bay Hall area in Meerensee, where the women were accosted by the security officers during the day.
They are then forced into the security company vehicles, some robbed of their cash and transported to remote greenbelt areas in Alton, where they are dropped off.
They fear being attacked in these bushes or even raped.
The women, aware of their rights, argued they were just doing their job.
“There are many people who are selling goods on the sidewalks, streets or pavements illegally, but they are not being attacked.
“Just like those vendors, we are selling a service, and we should be treated with respect. If they believe we are doing something illegal, they should have taken us to the police station, not dumped us in the middle of nowhere.”
The women hope that by speaking out this will deter others from seeing them as easy targets for theft and interrogation.
The Citizen spoke to Sonke Gender Justice and asked, “Why should sex workers’ rights should be protected and to what extend,” and Dr Marlise Richter, Policy development and advocacy specialist at the organisation backed the women’s plea for the recognition of their human rights and had this to say:
“Sex workers have the same human rights as any other person in South Africa and should be awarded the same protection of the law. Sex workers are a particularly marginalised sector of our society, and the outdated law that criminalises sex work transactions make sex workers particularly unsafe, and increases the likelihood that unscrupulous police or security will exploit their vulnerability.”
She added that Sonke has gathered a number of statements from sex workers who have been abused, raped, bribed and assaulted by police, and was in the process of engaging police oversight mechanisms to see how they can stop the systemic abuse.
– Caxton News Service.