Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dehumanising street sex workers in Durban

In the chapter, Dehumanising street sex workers in Durban, Faith ka-Manzi focuses on the stigmatisation and abuse of Durban's street sex workers. Not only are they subject to physical and sexual abuse by certain men on the streets, but they receive little or no protection from the police. Assumptions about sex workers as bad and immoral are also shared by members of the police and these may lead to them not taking seriously the claims of sex workers of being raped or abused, as if such women have only themselves to blame. Furthermore the criminalisation of sex work makes reporting of abuses particularly difficult. Faith works with women sex workers on the streets in Durban, treating them as human beings, offering them emotional and physical support. Her piece is a powerful account of their dehumanisation by others, their vulnerabilities and lack of voice.

ka-Manzi, Faith. 'Dehumanising street sex workers in Durban', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 438-440.