Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Gender Violence, HIV/AIDS

Legalise prostitution

Director of Ghana’s AIDS Commission, Professor Sekyi Awuku Amoa,  has called for the legalisation of commercial  prostitution "in the interest of the nation".  Prostitution in Ghana is not illegal as such though soliciting and running a brothel are.  However  prostitutes are  being arrested for possessing condoms which defeats the campaign to encourage people to use them.   

”As long as prostitutes have clients, from management point of view, we have to target them and give them health service”, adding that, "it is ridiculous to arrest and prosecute women on the basis of possessing condom".

Commercial prostitution includes street prostitution and brothels along with phone sex, video and internet pornograhy and  prostitution tourism.  However the debate over the  legalisation of street and brothel prostitution is different to the one on phone sex, video and internet sex and sex tourism which are not dealt with here.

Criminalising the profession marginalises sex workers,  increases the risk of  HIV/AIDS infection and violence such as rape and beatings.  It also feeds the trafficking of women and girls as sex slaves which is takes place across continents and  in all directions.    A report on Redifining Prostitution as Sex Workers on the Internationl Agenda  states

"the marginal position of sex workers in society excludes them from the international, national and customary protection afforded to others as citizens, workers or women. Their vulnerability to human and labour rights violations is greater than that of others because of the stigma and criminal charges widely attached to sex work. These allow police and others to harass sex workers without ever intervening to uphold their most elementary rights."

However decriminalisation of the profession is not enough.  Sex workers who like everyone else have a right to choose the profession they want must also be afforded the same  labour rights as other workers, access to medical treatement and a safe and secure working environment.

SThe legal status of prostitution is unclear in SA and Senegal or any other Africa country.  Prostitution is legal in South Africa and I believe in SenegalAfrican sex workers are coming together to discuss the issues:  recently they held a conference in Cameroon where the idea of an African wide organisation was discussed and hopefully will soon materialise.

More information on the campaign to legalise prostitution


  1. As far as I know, prostitution is still illegal in South Africa.

  2. Thanks – you could be right. From what I have found on the internet I would say it the law is still unclear and I will change the post to reflect that. It would be very helpful if you could find something concrete on whether it is legal, illegal or decriminalised. However SA is a center of trafficking and child prostitution is widespread(see other reports on under “gender violence” and “slavery 2004” on this blog)I am also wondering whether SA is becomming a “sex tourist” spot similiar to Thailand – do you know anything on that?

    An excellent site which I didnt pick up initially
    SWEAT – The sex worker education and advocay taskforce

    Redifining Prostitution as Sex Work on the International Agenda

    Constitutional case on legalising/decriminalising prostitution
    World Sex Guide
    BBC report
    Doctors for Life

  3. I think you are right about SA becoming a sex tourist destination. Recently on the news there was a police bust of a couple of women from Thailand who had been brought into the country for prostitution purposes. Women trafficking is also becoming a greater problem.I’ll try do a post about it at some stage.