Call for legalisation of prostitution

Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- Deputy Chairperson of the Namibian National Council Margaret Mensah Thursday stirred a hornet's nest in the male-dominated House of Review when she proposed the legalisation of prostitution in the country.
Contributing the 2001/02 Appropriation Bill debate in the House, Mensah said: "Legalising sex workers will not increase operations of sex workers but will slow the spread of HIV/AIDS since commercial sex workers will be able to be tested, treated, counselled and given education and information on sex transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS".
Recently Health Minister Dr Libertine Amathila expressed a similar view that it was high time that government looks into the issue of legalising commercial sex workers.
According to Mensah, legalising commercial sex workers would enable them to become productive citizens capable of looking for other types of jobs.
She deplored the tendency by some media to blame sex workers and not their clients, adding that sex workers sell themselves for survival and not because they enjoyed doing so.
"Interact with these sex workers and find their pain they suffer especially in the poorest section of the paid sex trade because they have less power to negotiate safe sex and are prone to contract HIV from their male clients," she added.
Mensah called on National Council parliamentarians to spearhead the fight against HIV/AIDS in their respective regions and constituencies so as to reduce the high HIV/AIDS infection rates.
According to UN statistics, AIDS had killed more than 21 million people since the 1980's, over 75 percent of them in sub Saharan Africa.
It is estimated that 36 million people in the world are currently living with HIV, over 25 million of them in Africa and most of them do not know it.
In 16 countries, more than 10 percent of adults, aged between 15 and 49, are infected with HIV.
In seven countries, all in southern Africa, at least one adult in five is living with HIV.
AIDS has orphaned more than 13 million children and that figure may reach 30 million before the end of 2010.

17 may 2001 16:31:00

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