Sex workers want free rein during World Cup

SEX workers say the police should turn a blind eye to their business dealings for the duration of the World Cup.

The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) and South African National Aids Council (Sanac) yesterday lashed out at the police

"The police have failed to respond to their request for a moratorium on arrests during the World Cup," Sweat advocacy coordinator Vivienne Lalu said.

They had written to the Police Ministry asking for the development and implementation of a plan, "but all have gone unacknowledged and unanswered".

"We anticipate the already high levels of violence against sex workers to continue during the World Cup and believe the unlawful arrests and sexual harassment by police will continue . as they try to keep the streets clean," Lalu said.

She said in two major victories for the workers, in April last year, the Cape high court granted her group an interdict preventing the police from arresting sex workers unlawfully.

And last week the labour appeal court, in the Kylie case, granted the workers the right to protection under the Labour Relations Act.

Stacey-Leigh Manoek of the Women's Legal Centre said: "All signs indicate that decriminalisation of sex work is the best legal model."