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Free Sex: SWEAT Documents Sexual Bribery

by Thilaka Ravi on  March 10, 2009 at 3:19 PM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
 Free Sex: SWEAT Documents Sexual Bribery
Seeking "sexual favours" from sex workers in return for not arresting them may be practised on the sly by policemen in many parts of the world. But Cape Town policemen are heading for trouble for forcing some women to have sex with them because the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) has filed an affidavit asking Cape Town High Court to order the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the municipal police to stop the "arbitrary arrests and harassments."
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SWEAT has filed the affidavit to draw the Court's notice to the blatant violation of basic human and constitutional rights of a vulnerable section of South African society. In the first affidavit, former SWEAT director Jayne Arnott has cited supplementary affidavits in which three sex workers claim that policemen enforce fear, not law, as far as they are concerned. One of the sex workers who made statements to SWEAT described being forced to have sex with police officers in exchange for not arresting them or releasing them early from police lock-up.

The affidavits follow SWEAT's extensive research for some years into prostitutes' experiences of arrest, detention, verbal abuse and deliberate humiliation by some policemen.

The women described a typical situation in which one policeman would come to the lock-up cell in the police station, choose the sex worker he would like to have sex with and offer to release them all in return. If the particular sex worker that he fancied did not oblige, then all of them had to spend the night in police lock up.

One sex worker said she was arrested while returning home with her shopping bags, another while she was going to her own birthday party.

"It is not unusual for sex workers to be made to clean the offices, the kitchen, the mess halls or the toilets at the court cells where they have been held before being released," said Jane Arnott.

While observing that some policemen were trying to harass and punish sex workers without bothering to have them appear in court, Jane Arnott said that on one occasion an arresting officer told a prostitute after locking her up in the Woodstock police cell for the night that, "the magistrates have better things to do than to deal with prostitutes."

Source: Medindia
THK/L

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20 April 2009
Cape High Court interdicts the police and city police to stop harassing sex workers.

Judge Fourie today handed down his judgment in this groundbreaking case brought before the High Court on behalf of sex workers by SWEAT.

The police and city police in the Cape Metropole area are interdicted against arresting sex workers while knowing that sex workers will not be charged or prosecuted. According to SWEAT Advocacy Officer, Vivienne Lalu this judgment heralds a major victory in the fight for human rights for sex workers. ‘Sex workers will now have better access to the criminal justice system’, Lalu says.

According to Lalu, this is not only a victory for sex workers. Other vulnerable groups like informal traders, street children and homeless people that often report similar actions from the police will now hopefully have their complaints taken in a serious light. ‘It is important that law enforcement officers understand that they cannot operate above the law’, Lalu says.

SWEAT will continue to have discussions with their lawyers and with sex workers to ensure that this interdict brings relief to sex workers on the ground.

mrrich Monday, April 20, 2009
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