Decriminalizing prostitution?

Now that other countries who decriminalized prostitution years ago, have come back saying that is was a total fiasco and even more criminal activities are going on, South Africa wants to try to make the same mistake.

A little history…

This article was originally published by The Conversation.

South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalize sex work. If it does, it will be one of a handful of countries that have fully decriminalized sex work (including New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia), and the first African country to do so. Currently only Senegal makes some provision for legal sex work and subjects it to regulation.

The issue of decriminalization has become hotly contested, with lobby groups on all sides pressing government for action. While moral conservatives call for the status quo to remain, others describe “prostitution” as non-consensual and advocate for partial decriminalization and exit strategies for women. Lined up against them are calls for full decriminalization based on respect for sex worker rights and public health grounds. The balance at present seems to be weighted towards decriminalization, but major differences remain that reflect wider debates within the global feminist movement on sex work and decriminalization.

Under South Africa’s successive colonial and apartheid regimes, sex work was largely tolerated. It was regulated only for its “public nuisance” aspects.  Stricter legal controls were enacted for purposes of public health (fear of contagion) or to impose racial boundaries on sex and sexuality.

It is little surprise to learn that Apartheid’s Sexual Offences Act of 1957 (the successor to the infamous Immorality Act) not only prohibited sex between all races, but also all aspects of sex work and the creation and management of brothels.

On democracy in 1994, sex work was completely criminalized, with some uncertainty about the status of the client. This was clarified in 2007 when clients were explicitly criminalized by an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act. Many find it troubling that in a democracy committed to gender equality and women’s rights, sex workers remain criminalized and generally unable to exercise their constitutional rights.

Legal reviews

Twenty years ago the future seemed different. In the wake of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1994, South Africa’s Department of Justice agreed to review sexual offences laws. This was with a view to decriminalizing sex work so as to address the vulnerability and rights violations experienced by sex workers. This was referred to the South African Law Reform Commission, where it was overtaken by other projects addressing sexual violence.

The commission concluded its investigation with the submission of a report to the Department of Justice in 2014. This report has not yet been made public. There is, however, some speculation that the commission’s depiction of “prostitution” in its annual report suggests a view of sex work that supports some form of criminalization.

The department’s implicit acceptance in the mid-1990s that the criminalization of sex work violates women’s rights has been taken up by gender rights and sex worker organisations who have consistently argued for legal reform. At the heart of this argument is the idea that women choose to engage in the work of sex work to make a living. The criminalization of this work renders them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and to HIV infection. It also denies them access to much-needed services.

Sex work without interference

Decriminalization would help reduce these multiple rights violations. It would enhance the ability of sex workers to work without interference. It will make it easier for them to seek services and redress. This view is advocated by organizations such as the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce and Sonke Gender Justice, as well as the Commission for Gender Equality. Even the African National Congress Women’s League has nailed its colours to this mast.

Opposing these views are radical feminist claims that “prostitution” is never a choice, but rather an instance of exploitation of women. Women’s lack of agency in engaging in sex work should be recognized. Proponents of this view argue that women should be assisted to exit sex work.

This has resulted in the so-called Swedish model, which seeks to eliminate demand for sex work by criminalizing clients, but not sex workers.  Prominent among South African advocates of this position is the lobby group, Embrace Dignity.

Call on parliament to act

Recent events have generated new possibilities of law reform on this contested issue. With no movement on the Law Reform Commission Report, Embrace Dignity turned to parliament to present a petition to its select committee on petitions. At a meeting on March 2, Embrace Dignity called for an “end [to] all forms of oppression against women, prostitutes and sex-trafficking”. It asked that a multi-party committee examine the legal options for sex work, with the explicit purpose of eliminating “the oppression of prostitution”, addressing demand and implementing exit programmes.

This call was partly supported by the Commission for Gender Equality, which agreed with an investigation into forced prostitution and sex trafficking, but argued that the Law Reform Commission has already explored the legal options for sex work and called for its report to be released publicly.

In contrast to Embrace Dignity, the Commission for Gender Equality explicitly calls for the decriminalization of adult sex work as “the only viable option to promote and protect the human rights of sex workers.”

Human rights for all

At about the same time as these opposing views on law reform squared up in South Africa’s parliament, further support for decriminalization emerged with the release of another long-awaited document, the National Sex Worker Sector Plan of the South African National AIDS Council.

The plan was introduced by Deputy President Cyril Ramophosa in March, with a clear statement of the humanity and inalienable rights of people who engage in sex work.

Citing research that found “HIV prevalence rates three to four times higher among female sex workers than in women in the general population of their age group,” he pledged an end to discrimination and violence against sex workers. He called for “sound policies and…progressive laws that promote the human rights of all.” The plan itself identifies the negative effects of criminalization and places law reform squarely on the political agenda.

If history is to be our guide, then public health arguments are powerful motivators for reform. Many hope that the combination of public health and human rights in Ramaphosa’s address will underpin progressive law reform in this area to accelerate the decriminalization of sex work.

Cathi Albertyn is Professor of Law at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.



Still in the bus on my way from the airport to Nelspruit, I am reading this post from our iris South Africa base director. The more I am reading the more I smile and feel grateful. Grateful for the trials, for perseverance, for friends that walk with you through them and Jesus that carries you through them. On the other side of overwhelming is so much hope and joy as we push through keeping our focus on the one who is the perfected of our faith. We made it, again, together and are forever changed by it. More love, more joy and more trust. We keep on dancing and jumping with this peace in our hearts that is growing with each trial. Love his life 

Posted on September 21, 2015 by

Feeling overwhelmed? It’s the new normal for most of us. And although some might disagree, we believe an overwhelmed life is something pretty powerful and precious when fully surrendered to God…that last part being the key!
In our little corner of the world, funerals every week are normal. But so are healings. Unending projects, administration, logistics of 21-25 kids, shopping, vehicle repairs (to just name a few) can easily sweep one into a flood of discouragement and frustration. But when showered with His new mercies, divine wisdom, and unfailing love- each day is an exciting voyage. Not that we are perfect navigators. Shipwrecks are no fun, but they are good teachers. As the African proverb says, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”
Instead of wasting our energy on things we cannot control (the past, other people, messy life stuff, etc.), let us wholeheartedly encounter JESUS! No more wimpy gazes…it’s time for unwavering life fascination! In perfect JOY, He endured the greatest of life storms and arose victorious. Consider HIM. Let every obstacle/problem fade in the radiance of the answer.
Sadly, it is easier to turn to the latest book about Jesus, than turn to the life source Himself. Instead of asking why (which is another trap of enemy called distraction) simply break the cycle. Run into His presence. Let praise and thanksgiving open the portals of heaven. Freely receive…then freely give.
Our tips to an overwhelmed life? Jesus. More of His Word. More of His Love. More of His Righteousness. Peace. Joy. We love you friends. We are so grateful for the cloud of witnesses around us. May the Holy Spirit continue to blow on our sails as we love and live for Him!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT


I beautiful poem from a beautiful couple

Sarayu International's Blog

I’d like to go to Africa
To walk on the red earth in the bright sunlight
To experience the village life
And see the night stars without interference of city lights
Where voices can be heard a half mile away
And children play without benefit of electronics

I want to see the mama’s cooking over the fire
And the girls hauling water
The children running carefree
With their little brother or sister on their back
Where yesterday can be forgotten
And tomorrow is not a worry

I want to hear the children singing as they play
And the mamas as they sweep the dirt
I want to be in a mud church and listen to the harmonies
That sound like angels singing
And the beating of the drums
That echo life’s rhythms

Yes, I want to go to Africa and sit in the sun
Letting all the rush of western…

View original post 62 more words

Christmas dignity

Dear family and friends of the ministry,
This year has been really miraculous. From January till December we were able to help 20 girls take the step of fait hand leave their life on the streets. 

Christmas is a very difficult time for them without the usual money to bring home to the family. I really feel we need to help them to show our support. I asked them what they need for Christmas, they all said that they did not want money. That is already an amazing answer. 

They told me their needs:
Many kids and grannies are counting on them to provide food for Christmas. Presents for Christmas are usually clothes. January is the start of the new school year and they all need uniforms and stationary.

I have made a list of the kids they have and the things they need each of them individualy. Please consider taking one of them on as a extra child to by presents for or support financially so we can buy these things for them and help them stay off the streets and enjoy this festive season without peer pressure. If you want more information on one of them please email me privately.

Please feel free to send this mail to family and friends 

‘Food’ consists of braai pack, pap, oil, laundry soap, sugar and cold drinks for Christmas
Sibongile : 2 boys ( 15y and 11y) black trousers and white shirt, black with yellow stripes socks Jersey, shoes size 8 and 5 . food

Victoria : Boy 11y black and yellow stripes jersey, shoes size 5 school bag and book covers,food

Goodness : 3boys (16y, 13y and 6y) 16u: black trouser and white shirt, navy blue and sky blue jersy. 13y and 6y: grey trousers and sky blue shirt shoe size 8, 6 and 9 (childrens), food
Joyce : 14y boy, 12y girl, 8y boy and girl and 4y girl and 8 month old girl: black and white yellow stripes jersy. Shoe sizes 8, 5 adult, 11 and 10 childrens size, food
Hluhluzi : 9y girl shoe size 3, 7y girl shoe size 12, 3y boy shoe 8, 2 school bags and book covers for 2, casual clothes, school bags
Bongi : 9y boy and 4y boy shoe size 1 and 8, 9y old boy grey trousers and white shirt and jersey. Casual clothes for 4y old boy
Nonhlanhla : 6y old girl: white socks, school bag , food
Zibongile : 11y boy and girl, 6y boy: : red with grey stripes tunic for the girl and grey trouser and sky blue shirt for boys. Shoe sizes 6, 5 and 12 ( childrens size), school bags and food
Gabsile : boy shoe size 6, school bag and food

Mbali : 2 year old girl, clothes and shoes. Food for 5 people

Hildah : 10 year old girl :Navy blue trousers and navy blue skirt, white shirt and navy blue with red stripes         jersey and tunic, socks navy blue
Mpumelelo : 1 boy 3,5 years old : food and clothes.   1 boy 3 months old : clothes

Nelie : 1 girl 6 years old and one mother : food and clothes for the girl

Sphiwe : 1 boy 13 years old : clothes and food

Cindy : Food for three people

Phayo : Food

Abigail : Clothes and food 2 boys 10years and 8 years, girl 4 years

Nomfundo : Clothes and food 3 year old boy

Charly : Food for two people

Given : Food and clothes for two adults size medium

Nonhlanhla : food for 5 people

 Nedbank Checking Account 1739012240,

Branch code 173952, Riverside Mall Nelspruit,

Iris Africa , Dignity 

Voor Belgie: uw giften kunt u storten op ;  

vzw Gloriepoort, Hendrick Kuyperstraat 60, Mortsel

BE11 0017 5986 6148 met vermelding Catherine Restiau of Dignity Kerst


Ondertussen worden we mag altijd belaagd door inbraken. Elke avond is er wel iets. 

Zondag ochtend werd ik wakker met een schitterend tafereel. 

Twee honden lopen buiten onze omheining, ze hebben ook een gat in het  kippenhok gemaakt dus de kipper lopen ook los. 

2 minuten later lopen ze allebei met een kip in hun bek…. Gelukkig zijn de arme diertjes  nog levend. 

Maar we gingen op zoek naar de plek waar ze ontsnapt waren. 

Met de mond open van verbazing stonden we te kijken naar dit gat in de omheining.    

Iemand heeft heel veel tijd en moeite gedaan om dit te maken…. En waar waren onze honden? De persoon die dit gedaan geef moet een bekende geweest zijn…. Aiaiai dat maakt het nog moeilijker… Wijsheid en openbaring !!!! 

Gelukkige zijn we met velen die hier verblijven in ons huisje ( vijf meisjes en wij twee voor ‘t moment ). Dus weile gene schrik! 


Ons autootje is alweer in de kliniek. 

Na het ongeval van februari is het een gevecht geweest om de auto terug op te lappen. Alles is bijna klaar, enkel nog een nieuw licht dat ik in Maputo zal moeten zoeken. 

Door het lange stilstaan is echter de uitlaat geroest en de katalic converter verstopt. 

Dus we zijn er bijna om weer helemaal rijklaar te zijn. Bedankt voor de steun en hulp van ieder die ons bijstaat. Uitgaan en mensen helpen gaat niet zonder auto hier in dit uitgestrekt land.  


My hero

Our faithful dog Nico is being rushed to hospital. He got poison in his eye protecting us from a little spitting cobra last night. Injured in battle, yet not complaining. A true hero. Please keep him in your prayers.