Quote of the week

An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
11 April 2007

Sex work (again…)

A reader is still hot under the collar because of my remarks on sex work last week and write:

Prostitution not only affects those who make use of its services (broken marriages, STD’s and HIV/AIDS, robbed clients, embarrassing situations for our esteemed politicians, etc.) but for the practitioners of the practice. While they are abused every day, they are still on the wrong side of the law (except if they’re under-age, or coerced) and should be punished.

I agree that prostitution may affect those who make use of the services of sex workers as well as sex workers themselves. It just seems logical, though, that the solution is not to criminalize the behaviour – which was what led to the harm in the firs place.

If we legalized sex work, it would be easier to ensure that sex workers practices safe sex and did not rob clients (but of course its impossible to pass any law that would stop politicians from making fools of themselves). Men who visit sex workers and whose marriages then break up should never have stayed married in any case.

Legalisation would also protect sex workers from exploitation by clients and pimps because they would be doing a job like anyone else and would fall under the same labour law which would protect them. They would also have to pay tax, which would make Pravin Gordhan very happy.

And what would the downside be? Sex workers would be allowed to do a job that was perhaps not the most glamorous or enjoyable job on earth. Still seems like a no-brainer to me.

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