12 June, Pretoria: The COVID-19 global pandemic has plunged many sectors and industries into an economic crisis and sex workers are no exception. Deputy Minister of Social Development, Mrs Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and sex-worker advocacy groups will facilitate a robust engagement with sex workers, government, civil society, developmental partners and the general public about challenges that continue to plague sex workers especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sex workers are a vulnerable group as defined in Goal three of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs. Goal three stipulates that, in order for the country to succeed in its quest to end HIV as a public health threat, all key and vulnerable populations such as sex workers need targeted interventions designed for challenges unique to them.
The National Sex Worker HIV Plan also calls for similar interventions geared towards addressing structural drivers of HIV within the context of sex work.
The Department of Social Development calls for the decriminalisation of sex work as the criminalisation of sex poses a myriad of challenges against interventions designed for sex workers. Criminalisation of the trade is intricately linked to the on-going human rights violations and inadequate access to social, justice and health services.
Sex workers continue to be the subject of human rights violations, gender-based violence, ill-treatment by law enforcements and the public as well as severe cases of stigmatisation. These challenges were heightened by the outbreak of the Corona Virus.
Media is invited to participate and cover the virtual discussion as follows:
Date: Sunday, 13 June 2021
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT