Virtual community and youth dialogue on hate crimes against foreign and South African sex workers- 25 October 2022

The workshop’s main focus was on the challenges faced by migrant sex workers in South Africa. This is particularly pertinent due to the rampant rise of hate crimes and violence against such vulnerable groups. The recent case of the brutal murders of the six women in Gauteng who were sex workers and migrants sheds light on the urgency of decriminalising and de-stigmatising sex work. It also points to the double victimisation that foreign nationals face when they are employed as sex workers. As put into words by social development deputy minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu “The police have made sex workers their ATMs. Whenever they feel broke they go arrest sex workers and make them pay [a bribe or a fine]”. Indeed, it is also common knowledge that foreign nationals, particularly those from neighbouring African countries are treated in a similar way.

This dialogue opened a conversation about the lived realities faced by migrant sex workers and built a greater understanding of how to work towards ending the deliberate attacks on migrants and on sex workers. Through dialogue and discussion, we hope to build consensus around the decriminalisation of sex work, and the roles that migrants play in a vibrant South African society.

Watch here:

Speakers include:

John Jeffery (Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development)

Megan Lessing [Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)]

Patsy Alley (National Convenor, ANCWL LGBTQI+ desk)

Muluti Phiri [Advocacy Officer, Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA)]

Nomonde (Anonymous sex worker)