Police Abuse of Sex Workers: Data from Cases Reported to the Women's Legal Centre between 2011 and 2015


The Women's Legal Centre has published their report on Police Abuse of Sex Workers in South Africa. The Women's Legal Centre is an organisation working to ensure that women in South Afica can live free from violence in safe housing, are free to own property, are empowered to ensure their own reporductive health rights, and are able to work in a safe and equal environment. Their report shows that 414 sex workers reported various types of violence perpetrated by police between 2011 and 2015. Of those, 13 were sexually assaulted, 71 were physically assaulted, 152 were verbally assaulted, 192 were harassed, and 254 experienced some other form of abuse. Sex workers also provided testimonies to support the claims made by the Women's Legal Centre. They demand the full decriminalisation of sex work to ensure the protection of sex workers human rights.

Contents include:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Exeustive summary
  • Introduction
  • A description of sex work in South Africa
  • Sex work and the law
  • Sex workers and the police
  • Impact of police violence and criminalisation on health and HIV
  • Decriminalisation to reduce human rights violations and abuse of the law
  • Call for action
  • Conclusion
  • References 

This resource is useful for sex workers and allies interested in learning about the context of sex work in South Africa. It is also a good advocacy tool for sex workers in South Africa advocating for the decriminalisation of sex work. 

You can download this 28 page PDF above. This resource is available in English.