Swaziland’s police chief Isaac Magagula has denied his officers use sex workers without paying. His comment came when he said prostitutes were an ‘infestation of our cities’.
Police have been clamping down against female sex workers across the kingdom. At least 30 have appeared in court and been given jail sentences or fines.
In a statement published in Swazi media on Sunday (13 August 2017) National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula said it was wrong to say that sex workers, ‘are targeted because of sour grapes that police officers are failing to pay for services rendered’.
He did not state that police officers did not use the services of prostitutes. Prostitution is illegal in Swaziland.
There is a lot of evidence that policeman in Swaziland use prostitutes. One of the few surveys done on female sex workers listed police officers among their ‘commonest clients.’
Separately, in 2010, Alec Lushaba, then editor of the Weekend Observer newspaper in Swaziland, wrote, ‘In a country known for its skyrocketing HIV and AIDS rates, conservatism, Christianity and traditional mores, it may come as a surprise that the abuse and rape of sex workers in Swaziland at the hands of police is a growing and widespread problem.
‘Sex work, known as one of the oldest trades, is still illegal in the country, yet sex workers have reported targeted campaigns of rape and violence at the hands of Swazi police.’
In an article published by Gender Links, Lushaba wrote, ‘A recent report by Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAAGA), in partnership with other local organisations, noted: “It is not just that they are arrested, to a greater or lesser degree they are forced by police to comply with demands for free sex or sex in exchange for not being arrested.”
‘27 percent of the sex workers have at some point been arrested by state police for loitering. 60 percent of those arrested end up being sexually and physically abused by the police.’
SWAZI POLICE RAPE SEX WORKERS
POLICE DRIVE AGAINST SEX WORKERS