Land occupations force out sex workers
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Cape Town - A group of sex workers from Khayelitsha were forced to find new working spots due to the land occupations in the area.
Over the last months, new settlements have sprung up in Delft, Mfuleni, Kraaifontein, Harare and Lingelethu.
As the summer season is slowly approaching, the sex workers have started operating from Monwabisi beach.
The women asked to be only identified by their age.
“Almost every space we used to conduct our business now has shacks close by,” said the 29-year-old.
“We are discreet because sex work is treated as a taboo in the country yet many participate in it one form or the other.”
Customers either call them for their services or the women work their magic to try to be recognised by new customers. This can be either be making certain moves while looking straight to the eye of the possible customer or a simple approach and small talk.
The new reality presented uncertainties for the young women as they are not entirely comfortable with the new space. They fear being taken advantage of and possibly raped.
“We are not familiar with the new spot and there is no security for us. If there was another option, some of us would have long quit but we have families to feed,” explained one 32-year old woman.
At their old spot, they had a room close by and a client had an option of conducting business there or taking them to their place. Now, only one option is available and that is being taken to the client’s place.
“We lose customers because some have no places and they do not want to take us to their homes. Booking out a place comes at an extra cost. My wish is for people to think about us because they know about us,” complained the 29-year-old woman
Earlier this year, sex workers working along the Old Faure Road were affected when a school was started under the trees by parents of children who were not placed.
Mabhuti Mkhangeli, an activist from Project Triangle, said that what was happening to the sex workers was sad.
“People should be considerate of sex workers because they render needed services. They need safe spaces where they can operate from and moving to a new space is not safe for them,” said Mkhangeli.
He called for community leaders to work together to eliminate the stigma associated with sex work.