File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Senior police officer investigated over alleged rape of sex worker

By Francesca Villette Time of article published Feb 22, 2019

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Cape Town – Police are investigating the alleged rape of a sex worker by a senior police officer in Bellville.

According to the sex worker, a man pulled up alongside her in a car in Boston on Sunday, identified himself as a police officer and threatened to arrest her for prostitution.

The officer, reportedly the commander of the visible policing unit at Bellville police station, then allegedly asked the woman to perform oral sex on him. The officer then allegedly went on to penetrate the woman with his fingers.

Police spokesperson Andre Traut said yesterday: “This office can confirm that the circumstances surrounding an alleged rape implicating a 57-year-old police officer stationed at Bellville are being investigated.

“The alleged incident occurred at around 4am (on Sunday) in Bellville and was reported to police by the 45-year-old complainant on Tuesday. The suspect is yet to be arrested.”

The legal defence centre of advocacy group the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) said yesterday “human rights violations against sex workers at the hands of police are not unknown occurrences”, and it was disturbed by the news of the alleged rape.The group hoped that justice would be carried out swiftly.

“Besides the alleged sexual assault against the sex worker, we also allegedly see a shocking abuse of power by a sworn upholder of law and order.

"We laud the SAPS for investigating the matter rather than sweeping it under the carpet, as has so often happened when sex workers report crimes against them to police.

"Indeed, human rights violations against sex workers at the hands of police are not unknown occurrences

"At Sweat we have had contact with numerous sex workers who report sexual assault against them by police officers.

“From the courts, we would like to see that the accused, if there is a case against him, is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Sonke Gender Justice, a non-governmental organisation that promotes gender equality and works to strengthen government and civil society, together with Sweat last year commissioned research into police practices following a large number of complaints from sex workers.

In the report that followed, called The Policing Of Sex Work In South Africa, it was found that marginalised and stigmatised groups in society, including migrants, sex workers, homeless people and drug-users, were particularly at risk of suffering human rights violations during police operations.

Cape Times

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