CONSTANCE Mathe from the Asijiki Coalition said there’s a mistaken belief that sex workers are only those who do it openly on the streets.

She told Daily Sun that many people, including married women, were into sex work even though they were in denial.

“Many people are doing sex work, but they don’t know they’re workers. There’s a brothel in Bellville, Cape Town that I visited where married women leave their homes wearing uniforms as nurses, but are not nurses. They go to the brothel,” she said.

“Sometimes the husbands drop them at the brothel, where some claim to work for massage parlours when they are doing sex work,” said Constance.

She said that if someone had sex with another person in exchange for anything, that was sex work.

“When you have sex with someone in exchange for groceries, transport or whatever, you’re a sex worker,” she said.

Constance, who is the national coordinator of Asijiki Coalition, a body of various organisations that advocate for decriminalising of sex workers, said more people turned to sex work due to the hardships caused by Covid-19.

She said the growth of the industry was one of the many reasons sex work should be decriminalised.

She said the virus has crippled their plans to fight for the decriminalising of sex workers.

“Now that lockdown regulations have been relaxed, we are again pushing for the changes,” she said.

Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) manager, Duduzile Dlamini also called for government to decriminalise sex work.

“If there were laws to regulate sex work, then workers would have been treated like any other worker.

“They would have had access to UIF and Solidarity Fund, but they are not regulated and they suffer,” she said.

“Some even defaulted on their medication because they did not have money to get to the clinics, and they could not take the medication without food.

“If they were considered to be workers, they would have been able to work freely.”