After millennia, formal slavery in most jurisdictions worldwide eventually came to an end by the middle of the nineteenth century. Yet, all kinds of trapped forms of labour took its place, among others sexual slavery—one of the most serious organised crimes of our time and historically one of the oldest human practices of gender inequality and exploitation. This chapter starts with broad, introductory remarks on the possible causes of sexual slavery and exploitation as well as what we as a society can do to collectively address this pressing issue. It then looks in more detail at the extent of this problem in South Africa. The chapter then moves on to consider antihuman trafficking legislation in South Africa and what it entails; a distinction is made between sexual slavery and sex work; and the reasons, effects and value of decriminalising sex work are referred to. A short account is given of the mythologised life of Sara Baartman, one of the most famous, but also least known, South African woman of her day and what we can learn from her about gender inequality, sexual slavery and exploitation. Sexual slavery and exploitation have been a worldwide problem for a very long time.
South African Perspective on Sexual Slavery, Sex Work and Exploitation
South Africa: Sex & Color - TIME
South Africa should decriminalise the exchange of sex for money by consenting adults. Sex workers also reported being sexually exploited by police and forced to pay bribes to officers. Researchers interviewed 46 women who are sex workers. All but three were single mothers, many of whom supported three or more people with their work.
Forced to work in dangerous locations, harassed by police officers, and afraid to report violent attacks, sex workers in South Africa urgently want their work to be decriminalized. For years, the legal status of sex work — prohibited under an apartheid-era law — has been a controversial subject of debate amongst civil society groups and government departments. How did you find sex workers willing to talk about their work despite it being illegal in South Africa? For one, because their work is illegal. But also, because they are busy.