By Zama Khumalo, Daily Sun
Photo: Prostitutes took to the streets to protest against police harassment.
There is an ongoing crisis for prostitutes who are often manipulated into having sex by police to avoid arrests.
That’s one of the stories told by an abused woman on Saturday, which was International Sex Workers’ Rights Day.
The ladies of the night marched against police harassment across the country.
Sex worker Ayanda Mbangi (36) told Daily Sun that she was forced to have sex with those who were supposed to protect her.
It was 16 August last year when she was standing at the corner of Mooi and Albert streets in Joburg with other prostitutes when the cops arrived. The others managed to get away but she was left behind to face the cops on her own.
“I couldn’t run because of a hip and ankle injury I sustained in a car accident in 2009. They threatened to arrest me for selling sex in a public area. They then drove around with me and asked how much I charged for a session.
“I told them my asking price was between R25 and R30. I became suspicious when one of them kept asking about my job.
“He told me that he hadn’t been with a woman for three weeks. While pushing up my skirt, he tore my underwear and told me to treat him like a client. When he was done, he kicked me out of the car and told me he wasn’t going to arrest me,” said Ayanda.
Prostitutes march through Mzansi cities
Prostitutes marched on cop shops in big Mzansi cities on Saturday to protest against police harassment.
This was on International Sex Workers Rights Day.
In a memorandum handed over to station commanders, the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy taskforce said:
“The police arrest and detain us without charges and without the intention of prosecuting us.”
Wearing masks and waving placards describing their suffering, they called for urgent action on their complaints.
“Our rights are being violated for doing work that supports our families,” they said.
The prostitutes also called on the government to stop treating their work as crime.
“Should sex work be decriminalised, then we would be able to work hand in hand with the police in combating crimes such as human trafficking,” said Sisonke national co-ordinator Kholi Buthelezi.
Central Joburg Police Station Commander Ronnie Rajin said he was prepared to meet the prostitutes to discuss their complaints against cops.
Provincial police commissioners in the provinces are expected to respond to the charges.
[This news article was originally sourced from the Daily Sun newspaper, on Monday March 5, 2012 (see attachment below for the PDF version of this article)]
Here are more photos of the Johannesburg Central Police Station march, taken by Hoosain Khan, of Wits University:
A group of masked male and female prostitutes marched the streets of the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday, demanding the legalisation of their trade.
Under red umbrellas and in red T-shirts, the protesters bore masks saying: "sex workers rights are human rights," and "my body, my business".
"Today we are hiding because of stigma and discrimination, because sex is our business," said one protester who gave his name only as John.
"It is only a matter of time before sex workers are decriminalised. It is not a matter of if, but when," said Peninah Mwangi, another demonstrator.
Prostitution is illegal in Kenya, but last month the Nairobi mayor suggested the practice be legalised at designated zones, sparking harsh criticism.
"We are ready to pay taxes. We would love to see sex work made legal. Sex workers are workers like any other and not criminals," said John Mathenge, the national co-ordinator of the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance.
He said they were ready for talks with the government on how their rights could be guaranteed.
[This news article was originally sourced from News24: Kenya prostitutes march the streets ]
"It's going to be very busy - tens of thousands of visitors, predominantly men, and many of them looking for some type of sexual activity whilst they are here," brothel operator Mary Brennan said.
Brennan, a dominatrix who runs a bondage brothel in Wellington, and is known as Madam Mary to her clients, said she had already received advance bookings from South Africa, England, Ireland and Canada.
"The English are known to be particularly deviant," she said, citing the public school background of many England rugby fans.
"Whenever I hear an English accent I know there'll be some good business there."
New Zealand introduced some of the world's most liberal prostitution laws eight years ago, when sex work was decriminalised, allowing brothels and street girls to operate legally.
New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective co-ordinator Catherine Healy said many visitors during the September 9 to October 23 tournament would be surprised at how openly the industry operates.
"Paying for sex in this country isn't against the law," she said.
"There isn't that whole subterfuge where people say it's a massage parlour, an escort agency, or we're just talking."
She said there were about 3500 prostitutes working in New Zealand and all the signs were that business would be brisk during the World Cup.
"We've organised to have condom supplies doubled throughout the period. That took a bit of work with the condom companies," she said. "The brothels are doubling up on their orders and getting ready. In our warehouse they're stacked from the floor to the ceiling."
Like any executive, Brennan has a business card, only this one lists services such as "maid training", "dungeon hire", "domination", "wrestling" and "cross-dressing".
Brennan, along with many other brothel operators, has been looking for extra staff for the tournament, but said: "We're very exclusive, so we're very, very picky about the ladies we have working for us."
[This news article was sourced from TimesLIVE.co.za: http://www.timeslive.co.za/sport/rugby/2011/09/05/hookers-line-up-for-world-cup]
By Natalia Drozdiak, and by Paul Casciato
Prostitutes in the German city of Bonn must carry a ticket purchased from a new parking metre-like machine while working the streets or face hefty fines from tax authorities in a scheme launched Monday night.
In Germany, ladies of the night pay income tax -- the level of which varies from region to region - but compliance is difficult to enforce with women seeking business on the street.
Germany's first "sex tax meters," from which prostitutes can purchase a ticket for 6 euros (5.31 pounds) per night, will ensure the tax system is fairly implemented, a city spokeswoman said.
"Inspectors will monitor compliance -- not every evening but frequently," the spokeswoman told Reuters.
If caught without a valid ticket, offenders will first be reprimanded, then face fines and later even a ban.
About 200 prostitutes work in Bonn. Due to protests from residents, city officials have limited the areas of operation to specific quarters.
But critics say this has made it easier for prostitutes to ply their trade. The city has erected what officials call "consummation areas," wooden parking garages where customers driving cars can retreat to with prostitutes.
[This news article was sourced from Reuters.com: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/08/30/oukoe-uk-germany-prostitutes-idUKTRE77T38T20110830?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews]
By Bridgette Bugalo
Sex workers in Zimbabwe’s second largest city have challenged the government to decriminalise sex work saying it is their livelihood.
This came up at a workshop organised by the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) which was held at Bulawayo Club on Thursday.
Practitioners in the trade — regarded as the world’s oldest profession — whose names have been withheld for fear of stigmatisation, told NewsDay on the sidelines of the workshop they were advocating for the decriminalisation of their profession as this would assist in the protection of their rights.
“We are at risk of rape and abuse and we wish the government could enact laws and include them (laws) in the Constitution and these laws should be affirmative and not infringe upon our rights.
“We are not prostitutes, neither are we ‘small houses’ who destroy marriages or engage in ‘relationships’ with married people.
We are in a business transaction of money for sex,” one sex worker said.
The women, who are national coordinators for sex workers in the country, said they were advocating for sex work to be recognised in the Constitution so that their right to life is not infringed upon.
“If sex workers are being murdered, some denied practice of their jobs, we are at a high risk of being deprived the right to food because we depend on sex work for financial gain. However, if police arrest us, our right to employment and shelter will be taken away and our children will be deprived of education because this is how we make a living, like any other worker,” another one said.
Contacted for comment, Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera told NewsDay “sex work” was illegal in Zimbabwe.
He said proposals to legalise sex work were a moral issue that society needed to thoroughly debate. “Sex work which I prefer to call ‘prostitution,’ if recognised would not increase the number of people infected with HIV and Aids, especially if complemented with adequate programmes.
Because these people have been there since the biblical times and they do not emit diseases.
Diseases are there and they require people to be careful. In some countries that have legalised prostitution statistics have not revealed that since the legalisation of prostitution, Aids levels have increased,” Madzorera said.
The sex workers said they condemned the clinical procedures where they were required to bring their partners when going for sexually transmitted disease tests at clinics or hospitals.
“We do not spread Aids. We carry our tools (condoms) with us,” one of the representatives of the sex workers said. Madzorera said clinical services were rendered to everyone without descrimination.
The spokesperson for the SRC, Mojalifa Mokoele, said the organisation believed in the right to bodily integrity without discrimination of the minority and marginalised groups such as sex workers, lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, transgender and intersexuals (LGBTIs).
“We wish the government could recognise minority rights and make laws that do not discriminate against these groups. Human rights are a need and if sex work sustains families, then sex workers should not be harassed,” he said.
[This news article was originally sourced from News Day: http://www.newsday.co.zw/article/2011-07-22-legalise-sex-work-prostitutes]