Ntokozo Yingwana
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Reading in-between the sheets
In conversation about SWEAT’s #SayHerName
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Sex workers in South Africa are confronted with high levels of violence, stigma, discrimination and other human rights violations, which sex worker groups and organisations – such as Sisonke, the national movement of sex workers, and the Sex Workers’ Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) – argue is the direct result of the criminalisation of the work. In addition, studies conducted within the country indicate that the violence experienced by sex workers increases their risk of STI and HIV infection, and prevents them from accessing health, social and legal services. During 2014–2017, SWEAT received reports of 118 women who sold sex who had died through violence. More than 50 per cent of the deaths reported were a result of murder. Consequently, SWEAT launched the #SayHerName campaign. The campaign exists to commemorate and honour women in sex work who have lost their lives through violence. It further aims to protect and uphold sex workers’ human rights, including the constitutional rights to access healthcare, freedom from violence, justice, and labour law protections. The campaign serves as an important curative in global feminist discourse on sexual and gender-based violence as it brings the often-marginalised voices of sex workers into the discussion. In this chapter, SWEAT’s Human Rights and Lobbying Officer Nosipho Vidima engages in conversation about the #SayHerName campaign with researcher and PhD candidate Ntokozo Yingwana.

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