ENFORCING FEAR: Police abuse of sex workers when making arrests

  • Nicolé Fick Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)
Keywords: sex workers, South Africa, police, violence, Cape Town, police brutality


Together with other research (see SA Crime Quarterly No 15 2006), this Cape Town based study shows that the highest levels of violence against sex workers come from the police. Far from guaranteeing the rights of the accused, police officers’ actions against sex workers when making an arrest are characterised by criminal activity including theft, assault and rape. Moreover, the minimum use of force is rarely applied when arresting sex workers. These findings reflect a worrying lack of respect for the basic human and constitutional rights of the most vulnerable in South African society.

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Research articles