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Community, sex workers fight over pavement trading

Published Mar 26, 2018


Germiston - The legal stand-off between sex workers operating in ­Primrose, Germiston, and the community policing forum (CPF) is far from over.

No out-of-court settlement was reached between the parties, their representatives informed Judge Cassim Sardi­walla in the Pretoria High Court chambers on Friday.

Earlier last week, Sardiwalla directed the parties to find a solution outside court.

The sex workers dragged the CPF before Sardiwalla on an urgent basis.

They sought to stop what they said was a violent campaign by the East Rand community to drive them out.

In statements deposed under oath, the sex workers revealed that Primrose CPF members randomly assaulted them and chased them with dogs, snakes and cars.

“In many instances when we are chased away by the CPF, we leave the area, but they will continue to hunt us down, even into our homes, chase us with dogs, snakes, cars,” one of them stated in an affidavit.

The Sex Workers’ Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), an NGO representing sex workers, said in court papers the application was meant to ensure that sex workers were free from violence.

“Levels of violence perpetrated by the CPF against sex workers are extremely high in the Primrose area #TakeBackOurPrimrose,” Sweat’s acting director, Jayne Arnott, said in court papers.

ALSO READ: Sex workers go to court to stop ‘community violence’

“In bringing this application, Sweat seeks to protect the physical inviolability of sex workers in the area.

“The matter concerns the right of sex workers to be free from all forms of violence, from either public or private sources.”

Sardiwalla directed the ­parties to continue their discussions, and meet within the next 15 working days.

Tracey Enslin, chairperson of the CPF, said the first round of talks failed because the ­community was clear it wanted the sex workers out.

“They don’t really have a case, because what they are doing is illegal. They all admitted to be sex workers,” she said.

“Nothing was finalised. We told them we don’t want them here. We’ll meet again within 15 working days.”

Enslin said she was glad the matter was now in court. She said she was confident that at the end, the court would agree that it was wrong of the sex workers to conduct their business openly in a residential area.

“I’m hopeful there will be light at the end of the tunnel. We understand that they want to make money. But we just don’t want them on our pavements, in front of our children, she said.

“They can work in an industrial area.”

Sex work is still illegal in the country. However, Parliament was now involved in moves to decriminalise the trade.

Enslin vehemently denied CPF members had attacked sex workers.

“CPF members have never assaulted a sex worker or set dogs on a sex worker before; we do not hunt them down at their homes,” she said.

“We just ask them to leave as we do not want them committing the illegal act of prostitution on our streets, in front of our families and schools.”

Sweat’s attorney on the matter, Stacey-Leigh Manoek, could not be reached for comment after several attempts yesterday.@BonganiNkosi87

The Star

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