In yet another milestone in advocacy, South Africa is set to launch the first health and safety handbook designed specifically for clients of sex workers on September 19.
The purpose of the handbook, a project of Sonke Gender Justice, is to create a safe space for sex workers and their clients to discuss and agree on their business. Its content is shaped by the knowledge and experience of sex workers, sex worker clients and others in and around the sex industry in South Africa and beyond. Information came from research done with female, male, and transgender sex workers, as well as clients in South Africa and beyond.
‘Sex work’ in this booklet refers to adult, consensual sex for a pre-agreed payment or reward. It does not include trafficking or child sex work, which are human rights abuses.
Calls for the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa by activists and health care practitioners have intensified in recent times, particularly in the face of horrific incidences involving sex workers and clients who take advantage of the fact that the profession remains illegal. Tales of rape and abuse are common, yet sex workers continue to render their services at the risking their lives and health.
In the handbook written and researched by Zia Wasserman and Ruvi Tenga, sex workers answer some of the burning questions. Read the tips here: Health Safety Guide for Clients of Sex Workers.