By Chi Mgbako (a clinical associate professor in the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School in New York City)
My Fordham Law students and I recently returned from a research trip to Cape Town, where we’re working with the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Task Force and other stakeholders on the campaign to decriminalize sex work in South Africa.
We had the opportunity to lead a “creative space” session with a large group of South African sex workers allied with SWEAT, and we asked them how the criminalization of prostitution affects their lives. Among other challenges, they described how criminalization fosters grinding stigma and discrimination that creates barriers to their access to health services. They spoke passionately of their need for “dignified medical treatment.”
As we mark the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers today (prior post), it’s worth remembering that violence has many faces.
The criminalization of prostitution amounts to structural violence denying sex workers the right to health. Criminalization increases the risk of HIV and sexual transmitted infections for sex workers in South Africa and throughout the world, because it:
[To read the rest of this blog post visit http://intlawgrrls.blogspot.com/2011/12/criminalization-of-prostitution-as.html