News from our members: Strides for the decriminalisation of victims of prostitution in Colombia and South Africa
In Colombia and South Africa last week, frontline organisations played a key role in bringing the lived experiences of women in situation of prostitution to the policy-making table, to ensure access to victims’ rights.
CAP Intl and its members’ top priority is to ensure that victims of prostitution are decriminalised, and that the burden is shifted by applying repressive measures to their exploiters, namely pimps, traffickers, brothel-owners and sex buyers, while increasing exit options for victims.
Colombia: Lawsuit against the Police Code to protect the rights of people in situation of prostitution
With the objective of protecting the rights of persons in situation of prostitution, Colombian congress members Ángela María Robledo (Alianza Verde), Alirio Uribe and Iván Cepeda (Polo Democrático) in conjunction with the Colombian Commission of Jurists, the Corporación Sisma Mujer, the Collective of Lawyers José Alvear Restrepo and Iniciativa por la Equidad de Género, filed a lawsuit on 22 November 2017 against the articles in the Police Code that violate the rights of persons in situation of prostitution. Iniciativa acknowledges the strategic support of CATW through Reuters' Trust Law, which was key to the initial discussions and to bring attention and the participation on many social sectors to work and support the challenge.
The lawsuit is focused on articles 43 and 44 of the Police Code aimed at the rules regarding the practice of prostitution.
According to Congresswoman Ángela María Robledo: "This lawsuit seeks to protect especially the rights of women, who represent 90% of those engaged in this practice, and who are considered to be in a situation of extreme vulnerability. According to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2015), women and girls mostly enter prostitution between 14 and 17 years.”
Read the full press release (en español ).
South Africa: High Level Parliament Report Aligns With Equality Model of Prostitution Policy
In South Africa, Embrace Dignity recently provided expert input to a parliamentary report of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change.
Embrace Dignity welcomes the recommendation by the report that parliament should introduce legislative changes to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act 32 of 2007 by decriminalising those who sell sex.
The report stated that at the moment “the law does not protect those who sell sex, often out of necessity, making them vulnerable to abuse by their clientele, the police, stigma, unfair discrimination, random arrests, the denial of medication, violence and exploitation, as well as driving prostitution and those who sell sex to the periphery of society.”
Decriminalising the victims of the system of prostitution represents a powerful first step toward equality. This marks a movement from prohibition to abolition, in a prohibitionist state where victims of prostitution are criminalised.
Read Embrace Dignity’s full press release.
India: Three-City Feminist Abolitionist International Consultations on Child Labour, Sex Trafficking and the Last Girl
On 24-25 November, Apne Aap organised a three-city feminist abolitionist international consultation on sex trafficking, the Last Girl and child labour. During this consultation, regional dynamics were discussed and interventions made by minority rights activist Soni Sori, feminist, author and academic Maleka Begum, and Sweden's Ambassador for Combating Trafficking in Persons Per-Anders Sunesson.
Follow @ApneAap on Twitter for more information.