Monday, November 30, 2020

Swaziland sex workers want to become legal and pay taxes

Sex workers in Swaziland (eSwatini) want to be formally registered so they can work legally and pay taxes.


At present sex workers face fines of up to E100,000 (US$6,500) or up to 20 years’ jail time.


They also want the government to provide them with shelters where they can work safely.


They voiced their concerns at the launch of the16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence in Pigg’s Peak. This is an annual event.


Jabu Wayne, representing sex workers, called on the Swazi Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku to consider their trade as vital to helping their families and provide them with structures where they could conduct their business. 


She said they were also being harassed by the police. ‘Even if we go to report about being robbed to these police officers, they don’t take us serious, instead they tell us that we should go back without helping us,’ local media reported her saying.


United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, told the launch meeting, ‘In eSwatini, one in three girls experience sexual violence before the age of 18, while, reportedly, nearly half of Swazi women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. 87 of every 1,000 teenage girls fall pregnant. Early teenage pregnancy is the leading cause of girl teens dropping out of school and brings many health risks such as birth complications.’


Masuku said, ‘The majority of violence incidences go unreported as a result of family secrets, fear of victimization and coercion on the part of the family or close relatives against reporting or even withdrawing reported violence cases, as well as lack of trust in the justice system, among others.’


See also


Swaziland teenage pregnancies, gender violence high during coronavirus lockdown


Four in ten sex workers in Swaziland ‘raped by uniformed police officers’


Poverty forces girls into sex work

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