Sex trafficking and prostitution under threat in SA thanks to Sweden
Sex trafficking and prostitution are estimated to generate R40‚000 per second but both local industries are now under threat.
South Africa is in line to become the 8th country to adopt the Nordic Law‚ developed in Sweden and used in countries such as Norway and Canada‚ which criminalises the buying of sex but not the selling.
The Swedish ambassador for Combating Trafficking in Persons‚ Per-Anders Sunesson‚ was in South Africa on Wednesday to meet with civil groups and government to promote the adoption of the model that has seen prostitution halved and sex trafficking virtually eliminated since being implemented in Sweden in 1999.
Sunesson told TimesLiIVE that there was an increase in sex trafficking across Europe as a result of migration flows‚ which saw disenfranchised groups look for ways to earn money which were exploited by human traffickers.
Current legislation in SA criminalises both the buying and selling of sex‚ but despite this an estimated 150‚000 sex workers continue to operate across the country.
NGO’s are waiting for a report by SA Law Reform Commission‚ which contains recommendations on amending the law‚ to be released by the Department of Justice and for public debates to be held on the reform.
Sunesson said that models used in countries such as New Zealand and Germany‚ where prostitution was completely decriminalised‚ worsened the problem of trafficking and prostitution.
“There are over 400‚000 sex workers in Germany and only one percent are registered‚” said Sunesson. “Our model reduces the demand‚ and if there is no demand it reduces this kind of exploitation.”
Director of women’s rights group Embrace Dignity‚ Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge‚ said that they wanted prostitution abolished because “we regard it as oppression and a form of gender based violence”.
“The current law is not working to reduce prostitution because it does not deal with the underlying issues. Research has shown people go into [sex work] out of a lack of choice. Because there are no jobs or they have dropped out of school and have no skills for the job market‚ or because they have experienced childhood abuse.”