Contact: Debbie Toughey, Doctors for Life International, 076 600 6986 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Apr. 3 /Christian Newswire/ -- Doctors for Life International (DFL) is appalled by the fact that South Africa would consider rolling out the welcome mat for organised crime syndicates who trade in human lives, exploiting the poor and desperate, and forcing them into the sex trade.
In an address to Parliament, the National Police Commissioner, Jackie Selebe, asked that prostitution and public drinking be legalised for the duration of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
One wonders how the average policeman must keep his motivation if the Commander-in-Chief is capitulating simply because he is overwhelmed by the crime in the country. We also find it strange for the government to pass new legislation on smoking in private places (which is much more difficult to enforce) while wanting to give up policing intoxication in public places because of the lack of staff to enforce the law.
Approximately 40 000 women and children were trafficked into Germany to accommodate the demand for sex during the World Cup Games. The same can be expected for South Africa and as women and children are being used as merchandise to cash in on the event, they, however, will not be the ones to benefit. Pimps, syndicates and drug dealers will be lining their pockets and are not about to go away at the end of the games.
Prostitution is an act of violence, which is intrinsically harmful and traumatising to people in prostitution. Improving the circumstances under which the prostitute works does not reduce the harm done. In South Africa, the cry for help in this regard was echoed in a survey carried out among 475 sex workers. When asked, "What do you need?" 89% replied, "To leave prostitution." 75% of the responders wanted job training that would enable them to get out of the trade.
On the other hand, as it is the vision of DFL to protect and enhance "life" in its broader context, we have been intensively involved in formulating strategies that prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Prostitution is one of the major contributing factors to the spread of HIV/AIDS and therefore one of our biggest concerns. The likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS or any other Sexually Transmitted Infection is proportional to the number of sexual partners a person has. The overall HIV prevalence amongst people in prostitution in South Africa has been reported to be as high as 56%, almost twice as high as the general population.
DFL is therefore calling on government to take immediate action against the sexual exploitation of women and children for the 2010 world cup, take precautionary measures to curb the further spread of HIV and AIDS and find other suitable ways to attract revenue.
The Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957 criminalises the keeping of a brothel as well as sex for reward. In Jordan v The State (2002) the Constitutional Court confirmed the constitutionality of the crimes of prostitution and brothel keeping. (DFL provided expert evidence as to the health risks surrounding prostitution in this case). Prostitution is therefore completely illegal for all ages in South Africa. However, Parliament is also in the process of amending the Sexual Offences Act which, if passed, will specifically impose severe sentences for child prostitution. In the Jordan case the Constitutional Court also criminalised the paying for sex – making the prostitute and the client equally culpable.
Debbie Toughey has personally been involved in prostitution and has firsthand experience with regards to human trafficking. DFL is a non-profit organisation of more than 1300 doctors and professors and continually provides assistance, support and counselling to women and children wishing to escape prostitution. For more information visit: www.doctorsforlifeinternational.com