I am genuinely worried about the fact that a few years from now prostitution might become legal in South Africa. Yes, we are a nation of choices and free will but sexual intercourse is not a commodity it cannot and should not be traded. Imagine tax paying brothels in poverty-stricken communities? But somehow today we find ourselves wrestling with the prospect of permitting such.
The fact that one day our children might inherit a reality where they might see careers such as Accounting, Aerospace technicians, Journalism, Marketing and prostitution all as equal professional careers. Imagine the fact that one day our children may view pimping as a possible career path – entrepreneurship.
I have no problem with prostitutes, but I do have a problem with prostitution, as many of them are forced into it either by circumstances or by people. All of this with limited a gateway of options to use as an escape into a better quality of life. Added to that it is unwise to treat prostitutes like criminals when many are victims of a life that chose them. It is this kind of thinking that causes many police stations in South Africa to ignore the cases reported by prostitutes. I propose we instead build an environment where there are clear and safe escapes for prostitutes to walk away from that lifestyle.
Sometimes I feel like the keepers of our legal institutions interpret our constitution in a way that seems to make provision for destruction instead of guidance and protection. We seem to be a nation with no fortitude or resilience, we just bend to the pleasure of whatever opposes us. Especially if first world countries and our equals have accepted the same thing as normal.
Why do we seem to think that legalising this cancer that is troubling the very fibre of our communities and our very humanity will somehow cure it?
Civil laws are meant to serve citizens but in South Africa, we seem to serve the laws with the most sacred pieces of our humanity, such as sex. A democracy with no moral barometers is anarchy concealed in beautiful pieces of legislation, as a nation, we cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of civilization.
We cannot assume that accepting anything and everything as catalytic steps towards evolving as a civilization. Legalising the business of prostitution will be regression, not progress. Throughout the history of the world, feminity has always been one of the key pointers of any nation’s moral compass and social evolution. How a nation is willing to deal with its women informs the world about its morality and possible future.
In South Africa’s case, we have a bad patriarchal history of prejudice against women and now instead of fighting to elevate their status through easy access to formal education, self-development and assisting them to discover themselves as individuals in protected environments, we are thinking about how we can best trade their gender in the most profitable and “mutually” beneficial terms.
As you read this we are currently battling with a lifestyle of femicide.
“South Africa femicide rate is 5 times more than the global rate,” Minister Nathi Mthethwa said two months back.
The Head of SAPS corporate communication, Major-General Sally de Beer added that; “Between April and December 2016, the police recorded a total of 14,333 murders, of these, 1,713 were women. This works out to a woman being murdered every 4 hours in South Africa.”
On the other hand, boys are being molested left right and centre – in schools, churches, mosques and even at gyms. This may not be prostitution but when thinking proactively instead of reacting we will get the sense that legalising prostitution will permit such acts and others as acceptable.
Girls are being kidnapped to be sold in prostitution rings, especially those in the ghettos and in remote areas. While some who live below the poverty line are forced to abandon their dreams and de-humanise themselves in a life of drugs, violent pimps, high-risk exposure to STD’s and even death in the hands of strange men, just to feed their siblings.
The business of sex is not exotic in South Africa, and it will never be. Our nation cannot be a red light district. If you are poor, abandoned and burdened prostitution or prostituting others should not cross your mind as an escape, or a means to survive. We cannot as a nation be so lax in our judgement. We cannot fail the poor and the marginalised in this way.
Instead of envisaging the billions of rands exchanged between the hands of pimps and clients – money, if legalised, could become taxable income. Let us instead think about the cost these vulnerable women and young men pay for acquiring that money – their souls are the real capital, their human potential funds the operating expenses of prostitution.
Instead of trying to make prostitution an available option without thinking about how legalising it will anaesthetize society to the unimaginable cruel realities prostitutes live in – such as rape, which by the way most prostitutes have accepted as part of the nature of their beast. Let us address the culture of perpetual poverty, violence and inherent suffering that leads to prostitution and other atrocities related to it. Let us address the degeneration of morality, compassion and broken family structures.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.