Thursday, April 16, 2009

Zimbabwe: The Supply And Demand of Sex Work

Writer: Fungai Machirori

The following are direct quotes from the article:

*Yet, as the global economic crisis deepens, rising numbers of women turn to sex work for income. Poverty increasingly has a feminine face. In countries like Zimbabwe, there are countless stories of former teachers and government workers turning to sex work.

*For many, lack of options stem largely from deeply entrenched gender inequalities that prevent accessing resources needed to generate income, such as land, credit, and trade opportunities.

*Criminalisation of sex work usually targets the supply side of commercial sex, and never the demand side. Police charge the sex worker with loitering or some other offence, and never her client.

*Decriminalising sex work would mean the usual labour laws and regulations could be applied, and sex workers could claim their rights to good working conditions, equitable pay and medical aid. They would not be informal traders any longer, but taxpayers sowing back revenue towards the growth and maintenance of essential public services such as hospitals, clinics, and schools.

*Decriminalisation would also criminalise offences committed against sex workers -- by clients, pimps, or police. Such protection would make sex workers more visible within society and therefore far easier to reach with information on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services -- all of which they currently lack.

*Denying the reality of commercial sex work is like trying to hide an elephant in a room -- no one is fooled. Let us not forget that sex workers are human beings who deserve the same dignity and respect bestowed upon every person by virtue of their being human. Rather than continue to criminalise the practice, let's rather make it safe, and provide access to the resources that would enable women to earn income in other ways...

Click here to read the full article.

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