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Health Beat #5 | ‘We’ve lost many sisters’: Why SA sex workers’ lives could be safer from 2024

  • A draft Bill published in December plans to scrap the legal penalties on adults buying or selling sex in South Africa.
  • When sex work is legal, workers are less likely to experience physical and sexual violence from clients and police.
  • For this episode of our television show Health Beat, local sex workers tell of the abuse they face each day. Plus, our Mia Malan speaks to a worker from New Zealand (where the trade was decriminalised 20 years ago) as well as the Deputy Justice Minister, John Jeffery, and Tlaleng Mofokeng, who is the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health.

Mia Malan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bhekisisa. She has worked in newsrooms in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Washington, DC, winning more than 30 awards for her radio, print and television work.

Mohale Moloi is Bhekisisa's television producer and a health journalist.

Yolanda Mdzeke is a multimedia reporter at Bhekisisa.

Dylan Bush worked at Bhekisisa from February 2016 to September 2023.

As an SABC TV reporter in the Mandela years, Jessica Pitchford covered news events during one of the most exciting periods of South Africa’s history. She’s worked as a documentary producer for Special Assignment, story editor for current affairs shows Carte Blanche & Checkpoint, as head researcher for Netflix production ‘Senzo’  and has written five non-fiction books.