SEX workers look for potential customers.     Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency/ANA
SEX workers look for potential customers. Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency/ANA

Don't label people selling sex - debate

By MATLHATSI DIBAKWANE Time of article published Aug 8, 2019

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Pretoria - A dialogue and debate gave insights into the different faces of transactional sex. It was also warned that people stop assigning labels to people who offer transactional sex because they became vulnerable to abuse.

This was heard at the dialogue and debate on transactional relationships hosted by the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria, the Centre for Human Rights at the university’s Hatfield campus yesterday.

Gender-based activist Mandisa Khanyile said individuals had the choice to choose what they do with their bodies and that nobody had the right to dictate what sexual activities they engaged in. She supported people who engaged in transactional sex because they wanted to.

Khanyile said transactional sex, human trafficking and sex work was not one and the same thing but the three become linked in conversations.

She said there was a genuine threat in sex trafficking and it should be taken as a threat but it did not mean it had to be approached in every discussion that has to do with transactional sex.

She defined transactional sex as an act of a person offering a sexual service and the other person paying for it.

She understood there were risks associated with transactional sex; however, people involved needed to be aware what they were getting themselves into.

“For us to put our morality policing into the conversation of transactional sex and say it’s not a Christian thing to do to sell your body. This is wrong; whose body is it to start with? What I do with my body is my choice. And nobody has the right to come and police me on what I do on my body.”

Human trafficking survivor Chrizelda Grootboom spoke of how transactional sex, human trafficking and sex work co-existed. 

She warned how people in the room kept on encouraging transactional relations because on some occasions it was not easy for victims to opt in and out of relationships. 

“We need to be careful with our terminology because people are tweeting and saying let’s do this it’s just sex - forgetting somewhere there is an 11-year-old being groomed and trafficked to become a prostitute,” Grootboom said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Mpho Mukhufu said the law applies when consent is not given, a minor is involved or cases of abuse are reported.

Pretoria News

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