Selling sex
A 2017 study revealed that one in three sex workers surveyed reported that they have been raped by the police. (Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters)

It was about 8pm on a cool spring evening when the white police van shuddered to a halt alongside Nosipho.

She was at her usual post in the tree-lined street in Morningside, Durban. Nosipho was wearing a short, blue dress and leaning on the fence of one of the suburb’s Victorian-style homes.

She recognised the police officer. At least once a week he would drive past her corner and make smug remarks.

On this night, however, the cop, in his late twenties, was more brazen.

“Why are you here?” he yelled from the driver’s seat.

Vidima didn’t answer. She looked the other way.

Nosipho, 28 at the time, was an opinionated woman. She knew her legal rights better than most of her colleagues because she was a part-time law student.

Infuriated, the officer exploded.

“Get in!” he bellowed… 

“I was too scared to fight him, so I got into the van,” she recalls. 

Click here to find out what happens next.

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Mia Malan is Bhekisisa's editor-in-chief and executive director. Under her leadership, Bhekisisa’s online readership increased 30 fold and its donor funding eightfold between 2013 and 2019. Malan has won more than 20 African journalism awards for her work and is a former fellow of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.