Decriminalization of Sex Work in South Africa

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This paper aims to discuss the issue of decriminalization of sex work in the South African context. One may understand decriminalization as the removal of laws that are against sex work or prostitution. Using Wojcicki (2002) the paper intends to discuss in detail the movement of decriminalization from the apartheid era to the post apartheid era. In addition, the discussion in this paper also includes discussion of the discourse of sex work and lastly, thoughts and ideas of the decriminalization of sex work in the South African context.

Wojcicki (2002) argues that in order to be able to understand the origins and little success of the decriminalization of sex work; it is useful that one looks at sex work in the apartheid era and then the changes that have taken place post apartheid (2002:84). Therefore, it may be argued that it is useful to look at how the sex work was seen during apartheid and what changes have occurred after the apartheid era. Seeing as though black South Africans had neither the power or the resources to voice out their opinion, the voices of those that were fighting for the decriminalisation of sex work in the apartheid era were those of white South Africans (Wojcicki 2002:84). From this, one may understand that during apartheid, the voice of the powerless was not heard and the notion of decriminalization of sex work was not one that was supported by all, rather by the dominating race.

Nevertheless, with the end of apartheid came a change in the way of thinking of sex work. First, the author announces that the shift from the law enforcement to attend to more pressing and more violent matters was one of the advantages that end of apartheid brought about. In this manner, one may understand this in the sense that police resources were now more focused on violent crimes rather than crimes of the public order (Wojcicki 2002:84). Secondly, another change that came with the end of apartheid was the incorporation of all human rights in the...
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