Sex workers in South Africa wants the govt to count them among essential workers during coronavirus lockdown (Video)

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Sex workers in South Africa have demanded that the govt includes them as important workers during the Coronavirus lockdown.The Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) and Sisonke, the National Movement of Sex Workers, have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to form urgent need for the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme to incorporate sex workers.

Sweat and Sisonke said, “Sex is a work, and that they too need help as their livelihood has been disrupted,” the 2 organisations said during a statement.

“We also turn the president to require urgent steps and mandate the Department of Justice and Correctional Services to fast-track the sex work law-reform process and decriminalise sex add order to deal with the evident exclusion of sex workers in accessing labour rights in times of need.”

“However, this drastic decision comes with many uncertainties for unskilled workers within the country, including sex workers.”

“The president, in his speech on Monday, vowed to ‘prioritise the lives and livelihoods of our people in particular else, and can use all of the measures that are within our power to guard them from the economic consequences of this pandemic’.

“Sweat and Sisonke have noted concernedly how sex workers are missing from the overall conversations about support for workers throughout the pandemic and lockdown. We aren’t sure who exactly getting to be|are”> are going to be prioritised within the plans laid out by the president as he says ‘we are going to support people whose livelihoods are going to be affected.’”

“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, sex workers are the primary group of workers to be affected financially by the spread of the virus. consistent with a study we conducted in 2013, South Africa has about 158 000 sex workers – the bulk being female sex workers who support up to seven dependants with the income they create through sex work.”

“The president has said that there’s a proposal for a special dispensation for companies that are in distress due to Covid-19. Through this proposal, employees will receive wage payment through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme, which can enable companies to pay employees directly during this era and avoid retrenchment.

“However, we are questioning the inclusivity of the proposal. Will it include sex workers? Sex work is currently criminalised in South Africa and sex workers are considered criminals – not workers. And, because the hardest-hit group of workers by the worldwide pandemic, they’re going to presumably not qualify for the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme,” consistent with the joint statement.

“In emergency situations like these, they can’t claim for any aid from the govt during times once they cannot work. Since the outbreak, sex workers have recorded a drastic decrease of their clientele, which has put many of them in dire financial strains that further pushes them to the margins and exposes them to risky sexual behaviour and violence.

“We would really like to remind the president that, during this adversity that we discover ourselves in, it’s important to concentrate to the vulnerable and respect the needs of sex workers in South Africa and heed their involve the decriminalisation of sex work.

“The criminalisation of sex work excludes sex workers from accessing basic human rights, including labour rights.”

See video below:

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