28 November 2021
December 1 is World Aids Day and the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms. Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu will have a dialogue with sex workers as part of build-up activities to the day, in Polokwane on Monday 29 November 2021.
Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu and sex worker advocacy groups will facilitate a robust engagement between sex workers, government, civil society, developmental partners and the general public about challenges that continue to plague the sex work trade.
World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on December 1st and is an opportunity for every community to unite against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and remember those who have died. This year is commemorated under the theme, “Working together to end inequalities, AIDS, TB and Covid-19”.
Sex workers are a vulnerable group as defined in Goal 3 of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs. The Goal 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 sex worker context.
The Department of Social Development calls for the decriminalization of sex work-as criminalization poses a myriad of challenges against interventions designed for sex workers. Criminalization 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 enforcement officials and the public as well as severe cases of stigmatization. These challenges were heightened by the outbreak of the Corona Virus.
This dialogues also happens during the 16 Days for No Violence against Women and Children campaign is commemorated between 25 November and 10 December, this year it is observed under the theme “The Year of Mannya Maxeke – 16 Days of Activism – moving from awareness to accountability”.. The 16 Days Campaign is a centre point of government’s comprehensive fight against Gender Based Violence and Femicide.
Media is invited to participate and cover the virtual discussion as follows:
Date: Monday, 29 November 2021
Venue: Bolivia Lodge, Polokwane, Limpopo Province
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT