S EX WORKERS WANT TO ENJOY RIGHTS too

IT SEEMS, at least to a humble and sinful man like me, that the debate about the human rights of commercial sex workers, or the legalisation of such, will never reach a clear and defined conclusion.

IT SEEMS, at least to a humble and sinful man like me, that the debate about the human rights of commercial sex workers, or the legalisation of such, will never reach a clear and defined conclusion.

I must readily admit that arguments on both sides end up pushing me from one side to the other - even up and down, excuse the pun.

Historically, commercial sex workers or prostitutes have been as embarrassing as the annoying uncle with a humongous nose.

As with the HIV infection, prostitutes and the actual trade of selling one's body carry a heavy and almost indelible stigma even among those who secretly enjoy the fleshly benefits derived of this silent industry.

One of my favourite comedians, Chris Rock, says: "Your wife will care and comfort you but she will never entertain you.

"Therefore, someone has to take on the monumental task of entertaining those who can afford it."

Having listened attentively to the learned and calculated angle to this heated debate from the experts and the intellectuals, I decided to speak to a couple of foot soldiers, so to speak.

You might also find it quite fascinating that the most vocal "professional" in the group that I met was actually a male prostitute.

Sibusiso feels that his occupational rights are continuously violated because "I am a prostitute by choice. If others are allowed to work as doctors, journalists and cleaners, why am I being denied the right to choose to practise what I do best in a safe, legal and protected environment".

For a change, this gentleman was presenting a different ball game altogether because traditionally most people who end up "lining the streets" do so because of some cruel social circumstances ranging from "homelessness, joblessness and emotional to physical abuse".

But this liberated group has come of age They seek no sympathy, no social grants - they don't curse the world but instead they have consciously made the decision that they "wish to share themselves with anyone who desires them at a price".

"I am sick and tired of plying my trade secretly, behind trenches in the stillness of the night. I want to employ a secretary who will run my practice like a respectable lawyer, I want to pay tax like everyone. Why am I treated like a brutal criminal when everyone else is permitted to enjoy their rights?"

Needless to say, this impromptu meeting had been arranged with only one intended outcome - that they would be delighted to have me in their corner.

Just as we have no choice about who we are related to, I also think that all of us must admit that there is absolutely no way, constitutionally or otherwise, in which to deny the fact that prostitution is a reality.

Secondly, I think that as a liberated society we must collectively graduate from the enslaving mentality that links those aspects of life that we selectively find unacceptable or undesirable with morality or the lack thereof.

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