South Africans have been waiting for the law on adult prostitution to be made as the trade is gradually growing fast in most parts of the country.
Justice Minister Michael Masutha over the weekend announced a long-awaited report by the South African Law Reform Commission was out for public comment.
Two policy proposals are on the table regarding adult prostitution – keeping the practice totally criminalised or partially criminalising the world’s oldest profession.
Masutha said the report followed extensive research on the circumstances around prostitution and the laws governing the practice.
The statutory provisions under review are contained in the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 (the Sexual Offences Amendment Act) which criminalises the selling and buying of sexual services and related acts.
The Minister said government would wait to make its policy position clear after the public have commented on the report, which proposes two choices.
The first option which is the Commission’s preferred option is to retain a totally criminalised legal framework. This option is coupled with an opportunity for people in prostitution to divert out of the criminal justice system so that they can access supportive resources and systems in order to exit prostitution if they should choose to do so.
The second option favours the partial criminalisation of adult prostitution. This option criminalises all role-players engaged in prostitution with the exception of the person providing the sexual service.