WELL INTENTIONED BUT MISGUIDED? Criminalising sex workers’ clients
Keywords:The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, South Africa, prostitution, Sexual Offences Bill, sex worker, harm
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development has inserted a new clause in the Sexual Offences Bill that will criminalise the clients of sex workers, with the specific intent to protect women and children from exploitation. In reality it has the potential to cause real harm to the women it aims to protect. Although it is possible that the Committee hoped to level the playing field ‘so that women who sell sex are not the only ones guilty of an offence, but also the men who purchase it’ (Gould 2006), sex workers will be most affected because they will now have to protect the clients who are their only source of income.
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