Arrest sex clients, not sex workers

PEOPLE who buy sex from sex workers should be arrested and not the sex workers themselves. That is one of the recommendations of the ANC's gender committee.

That call for action, discussed at this week's national general council in Durban, could place criminality of prostitution in an entirely different perspective.

"A study revealed that most women sell sex as a second option. So instead of arresting a sex worker, clients should be arrested because buying sex is by choice, whereas selling it is not necessarily so," ANC Women's League president Angie Motshekga said.

ANC speakers said justice was designed by men for men, as the market was male only. "However, currently the market has changed to include women. Accused persons going through the criminal justice system have different needs, determined by their diverse nature of being either female or male.

"Females are prosecuted and incarcerated on the same basis as males. The problem here is treating things that are unequal, equally," Motshekga said.

"The historical disadvantages that undermine women's rights and equal access to justice were not necessarily created by the current justice system. They are, however, reinforced by the identical treatment of women and men when accessing the justice system.

"It results in failure to respond to systematic social, economic and cultural disparities in society."

The ANC Women's League said the position of women in terms of access to justice is aggravated by their oppression based on gender, race, class, culture, language and other factors.

"Women and children have borne the brunt of ineffectual, insensitive and inept services in accessing the criminal justice system when they have fallen prey to, for instance, sexual abuse. In certain cases, the very role players they turn to for assistance and support have exacerbated the trauma, inducing further victimisation."

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