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Don’t arrest us, we’re the sex workers of Africa

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Sonara, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Sonara

    Sonara JF-Expert Member

    Dec 30, 2010
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Messages: 730
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    Don't arrest us, we're the sex workers of Africa

    [​IMG] Sex workers on a Mombasa street.
    Imagine a client walking up to a sex worker in Nairobi or Kampala and asking for their tax records - in addition to other "work" history - and when entirely satisfied, proceeds to work out a contract.

    Outlandish in East Africa? Perhaps, but this could soon be on the radar if a push for legalisation of prostitution in the region gains traction.

    If it gets sufficient backers, legalisation could also do its bit towards denting the continent's runaway unemployment rate, say observers.

    Many though will need to be convinced, as one Cabinet minister in Namibia recently found out, after he came in for relentless roasting over a similar proposal in that country.

    To be fair, Youth and Sports Minister Kazenambo Kazenambo may have had good intentions for a country whose unemployment rate stands at 51.2 per cent.

    And this was not the first time such calls were being made in the country.

    In 2005, the country's former health minister Libertina Amathila made the same suggestion only to be shot down by her Cabinet colleagues.

    And as the world on December 17 marked the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers, East Africa may also have to contend with such strong opposition.

    Proponents of legalising the trade accuse their opponents of conservatism and politicising the issue.

    This is a claim rebuffed on the grounds that such a move would be a setback in the fight against HIV/Aids, besides being out of touch with "African culture."

    Sex workers are forming organisations to fight for their rights. The groups organise conferences to shed light on the issues revolving around sex work, HIV/Aids and gender based violence.

    One was organised by Kenyan bar maids in 2006 while another, the first ever African Sex Workers Conference, was held in Johannesburg last year.

    Why the surge?

    What is driving the strong upsurge in sex worker activism on the continent?

    An African Sex Workers Conference release outlines several: Stigma, discrimination, criminalisation and structural violence, abuse and exploitation, health risks and access to heath care services and facilities.