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Prostitution Should Remain Illegal in South Africa

Submission in Response to the SA Law Reform Commission’s Discussion Paper on Adult Prostitution

In response to the South African Law Reform Commissions (SALRC) questionnaire on Adult Prostitution, the Christian Lawyers Association of South Africa, herein after referred to as CLA, proposes the following policy option;

1. The majority of South Africans are professed Christians but even so South African laws are deliberately not based on Christian morality. If laws are not based on morality it is based on the deprived mind of mere humans. This leads to decay in society. The laws of South Africa should be based on morality, at least on the four cardinal virtues common to all civilised humans (C.S. Lewis Doodgewoon Christen p88). The minority that do not have any morality are protected by the Bill of Rights. It is Government’s duty to ensure a healthy society through legislation based on sound morality as Lord Devlin also states in Enforcement of Morals.

2. Prostitution is to remain illegal in South Africa for several compelling reasons. First, legalization of prostitution is inevitably accompanied by an increase in human trafficking, which is already a worldwide scourge. Second, legalization of prostitution does not improve the well being of prostitutes. Third, it encourages women to become prostitutes and encourages prostitution clients, so-called buyers to believe that their predatory behaviour toward women and children is socially acceptable. Fourth, it increases the number of child prostitutes.

3. The entire sex industry should be criminalized with particular attention being focused on procurers (men who solicit and buy sex), pimps, brothel owners, gangs, crime syndicates & sex traffickers by police and the prosecuting authorities as prostitutes are most often trapped in this industry as a result of circumstances.

2. Currently male prostitution is mostly excluded from legislation as it is of a lesser problem than female prostitution, but it is the CLA’s submission that male prostitution should be criminalizes in the same way that female prostitution should be criminalized.

3. Having said this, prostitutes trapped in prostitution should not be arrested and prosecuted but rather diverted via the justice system into state funded exit and rehabilitation programs in partnership with civil society in order to assist prostitutes to escape prostitution.

4. The CLA believes the policy option that best serves South Africa’s current social reality is the total criminalization of the sex industry. Partial decriminalisation (criminalization of the demand side of the sex industry but not the prostitutes themselves) will legitimise prostitution as an acceptable form of “work‟ and draw more prostitutes into prostitution.

The CLA proposes a new Adult Prostitution Act to criminalize:
1. Buying of voluntary adult sex
2. Voluntary selling of adult sex
3. All prostitution related acts.