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Decriminalization Of Sex Work Will Protect Women From Abuse, Human Rights Watch Tells South Africa



According to an article published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on August 7, 2019, South African sex workers also called prostitutes in several quarters, are susceptible to perpetual danger of, among others, harassment, arrest, incarceration, extortion, violence from law enforcement personnel, contracting HIV, rape, and even murder. All these dangers are a product of criminalization of sex work, and that the criminalization compromises safety of those involved in the business, HRW suggests in the article. As such, if sex work in South Africa was decriminalized, personal safety and well-being of sex workers could be ensured, HRW postulates. HRW says its article is based on findings from studies carried out in South Africa and elsewhere in the world where sex work is criminalized.


The article by the renown human rights body also castigates the controversial "Nordic Model" for addressing prostitution, that seems to have drawn some interest from other countries. HRW argues the model offers half measures towards the issue of sex work, and therefore inappropriate in resolving the issue. HRW is particularly concerned about the way the model has been applied in Sweden, where paradoxically buying sex is criminalized but selling it is perfectly legal.

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