Quote of the week

It is clear that no legitimate objective is advanced by excluding domestic workers from COIDA.  If anything, their exclusion has a significant stigmatising effect which entrenches patterns of disadvantage based on race, sex and gender…. In considering those who are most vulnerable or most in need, a court should take cognisance of those who fall at the intersection of compounded vulnerabilities due to intersecting oppression based on race, sex, gender, class and other grounds.  To allow this form of state-sanctioned inequity goes against the values of our newly constituted society namely human dignity, the achievement of equality and ubuntu.  To exclude this category of individuals from the social security scheme established by COIDA is manifestly unreasonable.

Victor AJ
Mahlangu and Another v Minister of Labour and Others (CCT306/19) [2020] ZACC 24 (19 November 2020)
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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