In South Africa, Sex Workers Arm Themselves with the Law

by Andrew Hida

The criminalization of sex work has dire consequences for the safety and health of sex workers. (2014- 6:31 min.)

“Spotlight on a legal clinic for sex workers in ape Town, South Africa.
“The criminalization of sex work has dire consequences for the safety and health of sex workers. Police threaten sex workers with arbitrary arrest, demand bribes, and abuse and sexually violate them. As a criminalized group, sex workers have felt powerless to confront abuse by both clients and police, and in turn, unable to rely on police when they need help. With sex work pushed underground, criminalization increases the risk of HIV infection.”

“Police threaten sex workers with arbitrary arrest, demand bribes, and abuse and sexually violate them. As a criminalized group, sex workers have felt powerless to confront abuse by both clients and police, and in turn, unable to rely on police when they need help. With sex work pushed underground, criminalization increases the risk of HIV infection.

Now, through an innovative program in Cape Town, South Africa, sex workers confront this situation with peer support and legal advice. From contesting a fine to challenging abuse, the paralegals offer sex workers legal support at their office, over the phone, and during regular street-level outreach.

Meet some of the paralegals working to empower sex workers, and see the powerful difference this support has made in one woman’s quest for justice.”

Learn more: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org…

Camera and sound: Sven Torfinn/Panos Pictures
Editing: Andrew Hida
Produced by the Open Society Foundations
We recognize with sadness the passing of Veliswa “Anita” Mambuma, a paralegal featured in this video.

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