International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Prostitution under the Sexual Offences Act in South Africa: A Constitutional Test
Nyathi-Mokoena UCA, Choma HJ

The research will define prostitution in accordance with the South Africa Law Reform Commission, which refers to prostitution as the exchange of any financial or other reward, favour or compensation for the purposes of engaging in a sexual act.1 A similar understanding of prostitution is demonstrated where prostitution is defined as the practice of engaging in sexual activity, in general with individuals other than a spouse or partner, in exchange for immediate payment of money or other valuables.2 It is worth noting that the terms „prostitutes? and “sex workers” will be used interchangeably in this study. The term “sex work” has been used as a non- stigmatisation term, in an effort to drift away from pejorative words like „prostitutes? or „whores?, and also to make prostitution sound like other types of work rather than an activity that demeans the service provider. The term "sex work” may then be defined as, “the performance of sex acts for hire”.3 The South African Constitution4 protects the rights of workers. Section 22 provides that every citizen has the right to choose their trade.5Thereafter, there is Section 23 which guarantees the right to fair labour practices.6 These two sections will later be analysed in the light of sex workers in South Africa.

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