BULELWA MAPHANGA writes: Dudu Khumalo (not her real name) wants the government to decriminalise sex work. Khumalo, who has been a sex worker for nine years, said: “We are vulnerable because of the current law.” They suffer from discrimination from health care providers. It also affects their ability to use condoms to protect themselves against HIV “because police use those condoms as evidence to arrest us”.
Research by sex workers, advocates and activists has shown that decriminalisation will decrease the incidence of HIV amongst sex workers.
Decriminalising sex work would also reduce the stigma they suffer from in their communities.
But, for any intervention to work, the government must first consult health care workers themselves.
"We are involved with some of the government's programs like the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS but it is wrong for the government to take decisions on our behalf and not involve us," said Khumalo.
“We want to express how we feel and also tell them about our needs. We want to put convincing and helpful ideas that will benefit sex workers across the country."