Sex worker paralegals

Former sex workers affiliated to the Sisonke Sex Worker's Movement have been trained as paralegals by the Women's Legal Centre to provide paralegal advice and assistance to sex workers

The Sisonke Sex Workers' Movement found that many of their members needed legal advice, but found that they were uncomfortable talking to lawyers. They decided that the best way to deal with the problem is for sex workers to be trained to give legal advice. The sex workers are based at the Women's Legal Centre and work together with the Women's Legal Centre team. 

Most of the complaints received by the paralegals relate to police harassment and abuse, such as being arrested and held for days without food or phone calls, and not being charged. As a result of the paralegals lodging complaints, the reports of this abuse have reduced. However sex workers now report they are being fined between R500 and R1000 which many cannot afford, for offences such as loitering. 

In South Africa, sex workers who work in brothels have the same rights as other employees in terms of labour law. The sex worker paralegals also assist sex workers who work in brothels in taking complaints to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. 

 

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