Sex workers tell of being tortured, including being beaten with sjamboks.
Activists have been told that government wants to hear their views, but without draft legislation their input is of little value.
Making sex work safer can lead to less HIV infections and gender-based violence, studies have shown.
Sex workers in South Africa want their profession decriminalised, a view supported by many medical professionals and civil society organisations.
Human rights and access to healthcare remain paramount in the country's response.