Mickey Meji, founder of the country-wide sex worker survivor movement, Kwanele, leads protesters outside the Durban High Court. Picture: Duncan Guy
Mickey Meji, founder of the country-wide sex worker survivor movement, Kwanele, leads protesters outside the Durban High Court. Picture: Duncan Guy

Prostitutes protest against prostitution

Time of article published Apr 11, 2019

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DURBAN - A group of working and former prostitutes gathered at the Durban High Court this morning to protest against the trade being decriminalised.

Inside court, the man accused of murdering Siam Lee by burning her to death, along with a raft of other charges, was about to appear in the dock ahead of his trial. He is out on bail. He has not yet pleaded.

"This case is evidence that prostitution can never be made safe," said Mickey Meji, founder of the country-wide sex worker survivor movement, Kwanele, who led the protest, and reiterated her concern against the decriminalisation of sex work.

Lee disappeared from a brothel in Durban North early last year and was found two weeks later, burned to death, in a sugar cane field near New Hanover, in the Midlands.

“We are calling on the President not to offer us to men, pimps and brothel owners to be bought and sold and exploited as a solution to systematic failures and that he actually addresses the systematic failures of the Republic of South Africa,” said Meji.

Meji added that the pro-decriminalisation lobby comprised “academic people who use figures and numbers and posh English” and that those at the coal face were not heard “simply because we are not educated”.

“Prostitution in South Africa bears the face of poor, black women from disadvantaged backgrounds with limited levels of literacy.”

Kwanele proposes that plans should be made to enable such women to take up proper employment.

The Independent on Saturday


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