South Africa-Society-Consultations

S/Africa to decriminalise sex work?

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

South Africa on Wednesday commenced consultation on one of its most contentious subjects, whose endgame is to reach a consensus on how to go forward in the “decriminalisation of sex work”.

Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister John Jeffery said while the possible decriminalisation of sex work might be disputed, the subject needed to be fully debated before a decision is taken to leave it as a criminal activity -- as was the current case -- or decriminalise the oldest profession in the world. 

Jeffrey said he expected a series of consultations with interested parties and stakeholders on the decriminalisation of sex work. These are religious and traditional leaders of the country, he said.

“The issue of decriminalisation may be a contested one but it is also one that needs to be debated and a decision taken -- as the issue has been one which has been delayed for far too long,” the deputy minister said.

He added: “It is important that we fully engage with stakeholders regarding the proposed policy options as there are many divergent views.”

He said his ministry needed to “further engage with relevant government departments to ascertain the implications of changing the legislative framework. And we also need to engage the public on their views.”

Prostitution and brothels are illegal in South Africa as set out by the Sexual Offences Act of 1957 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act of 2007.

NM/jn/APA

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