Sex Workers Seek Legal Aice

A GROUP of sex workers have made known their intention to legally challenge a draft municipal law, which deals with their rights and restricts them from carrying out their activities.

The sex workers, who were represented by the Namibian Sex Workers Alliance and the Rights Not Rescue Trust of Namibia, met with City Police chief Abraham Kanime yesterday but little is said to have come out of the meeting.

Speaking on behalf of the sex workers, Nikodemus ‘Mama Africa’ Aoxamub said they are grateful that Kanime made time in his busy schedule to meet them, but alleged that the police chief addressed them in a rude manner.

“There were times he was rude to us in the meeting. As much as we asked him not to address us as prostitutes but rather as sex workers, he insisted on calling us prostitutes. Now we will take this matter to the Legal Assistance Centre for aice, because we feel they should have included the sex workers before drafting this law. Why did they not give us this platform before they drafted this law? Anyway, we are prepared to go to court with this draft if they do not include our input,” Aoxamub said.

Kanime challenged them to come up with an alternative to the draft municipal law.

“I was expecting you to come with something on paper that states which part of the draft you are not happy with. So I suggest you submit what you have and then we can take this further. We are giving you two weeks to come back to us,” Kanime told the group.

A study carried out by the Legal Assistance Centre’s Dianne Hubbard and Leigh-Anne Agnew states that prostitution in Namibia is regulated primarily by the Combating of Immoral Practices Act (Act 21 of 1980).

The statute does not criminalise the actual act of engaging in sex for reward. Instead, it criminalises a number of the surrounding activities.

In the drafted municipal law, it states that no person shall stand or wander in or near buildings or public roads or any public or private place and attempt to engage passers-by in conversation, or stop or attempt to stop motor vehicles, for the purpose of prostitution or other commercial sexual activity or lewdness or assignation.

Kanime further said the police have consulted with the Ministry of Justice’s legal drafters and that the document is at the final stages to be approved.

Source : The Namibian