The Centre Against Sexual Exploitation, South Africa – looking back in thankfulness at our work over the second half of 2022

At the Centre Against Sexual Exploitation, South Africa (CASE-SA), we want to see every person’s inherent dignity respected and protected, and that all people live lives free from pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation! We employ a three-pronged strategy, called “Educate, Empower, Eradicate”, to achieve this vision, and this is what it looks like:

We aim to –

  • EDUCATE society on the harms of pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation; 
  • EMPOWER people to protect themselves and others from exposure to pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation (including equipping people on
    how to respond to exposure and recover from the effects of exposure); and
  • ERADICATE the distribution of pornography and prevent other forms of sexual exploitation, to the fullest extent of the law.


The year 2022 is behind us – and it has been a fruitful year. In this article, we take a look at what CASE-SA has been doing in the second part of 2022 to move closer to fulfilling our mission of a society free of pornography and sexual exploitation.

MAIN FOCUS

PROSTITUTION LAW REFORM IN SOUTH AFRICA

On 30 November 2022, Cabinet approved the publication of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill, 2022, which proposes to fully decriminalise prostitution and prostitution-related activities in South Africa. This is a horrific mistake

In February 2022, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ) initiated a process to formulate an official policy regarding the legal regime applicable to adult prostitution in South Africa.

We have been actively engaging with different stakeholders and the DoJ on the best approach to reform prostitution laws in South Africa. 

CASE-SA has been actively involved in law reform discussions in this context since 2016. The undeniable truth is that prostitution is inherently harmful and exploitative and can never be regulated in a dignified manner. This is the message we have been advocating for even before the new law reform process started.

After reaching out on various occasions, in November 2022, we finally had the opportunity to engage with the Deputy Minister of the DoJ to voice our concerns regarding the proposed full decriminalisation of the system of prostitution (including men’s purchasing of prostitution, brothels, and pimps) in South Africa. 

We will continue to engage as the Collective Against Sexual Exploitation in enlightening the public about the truth and reality of the exploitative nature of the system of prostitution.

Read our latest op-ed in the Mail & Guardian on why “Defending a prostituted person’s dignity starts with saying ‘no’ to full decriminalisation”.

Central to our efforts is giving everyone in society an opportunity to use their voice for good. Anyone can make their voice heard by signing our collective petition to Say NO to legalised Sexual Exploitation, Brothel-Keeping, and Pimping in South Africa.

IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO YET – SIGN THE PETITION TODAY!

Our collective efforts revolve around a specific online rallying point, situated on our website:  Our Prostitution Law Reform campaign page, where we put forward the case against full decriminalisation of prostitution, amplified by a hard-hitting “What are the facts?” section and a “Media” section with excellent video and audio resources.

16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM FOR ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN

This year CASE-SA’s 16 Days of Activism campaign focuses on the reality of the system of prostitution. It is undeniable: violence is inherent in the system of prostitution. There is no way we can stand against violence against women and children while condoning the full decriminalisation of prostitution at the same time. Legalising prostitution is tantamount to legalising violence.

Fully decriminalising prostitution will only increase – and give an implicit nod of approval – to the exploitation of the marginalised and vulnerable. As one survivor of prostitution remarked, prostitution is based on a system of violence against women and the exploitation inherent in it precludes prostitution from ever realistically being categorised as “work”.

Prostitution is inherently harmful and exploitative. The South African Law Reform Commission interviewed prostituted women extensively. It found the extent of the physical and psychological harm experienced by prostitutes, nothing less than horrificOne of the largest international studies done on prostitution found that 63% of women in prostitution were raped, 71% were physically assaulted, and 68% met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder on the same level as combat veterans and torture victims.

It’s naive to believe that fully decriminalising the entire system of prostitution will somehow eradicate all the abuse and exploitation – and associated harms and trauma – inherent in prostitution. The unavoidable and stark reality is that the abuse and harms continue unabated when prostitution is fully decriminalised, while the law turns a ‘blind eye to the exploitation and trauma inflicted on some of society’s most vulnerable members.

Join us and SAY NO to legalised sexual exploitation, brothel-keeping and pimping in South Africa!

EDUCATE AND EMPOWER

#PARENTTALK ON THE UNSPOKEN EPIDEMIC OF CHILDREN AND PORNOGRAPHY

#ParentTalk: The Unspoken Epidemic of Children and Pornography  (Embed video in blog, i.e. video should be displayed as a video, not merely as hyperlinked text.)

If you are a parent, educator or caregiver, you will be very excited about our brilliant online child protection resource called – #ParentTalk on the Unspoken Epidemic of Children and Pornography.

The purpose of #ParentTalk is to educate and empower parents and other caregivers to protect children against the harmful impact of pornography. If you feel like this is a scary or daunting topic – DO NOT WORRY! – #ParentTalk delivers a message of hope and is presented in a straightforward and easy-to-digest way. 

The training course includes 4 core modules consisting of 90 minutes of video interviews (in total) with local practitioners in the field of online child safety, covering topics such as:

  • The prevalence and harms of pornography exposure
  • The impact of pornography on the developing brain
  • Empowering parents and caregivers to protect children and prepare them to respond appropriately to exposure
  • Safeguarding children with the use of technology resources

We encourage you to head over to our dedicated #ParentTalk website and sign up for the course today! The virtual platform enables you to work through the training material at your own pace as your schedule allows.

Available Online and In-person

After kicking off our in-person courses in the first half of 2022 we are delighted to have had the opportunity to present #ParentTalk at another two communities: 

  • In September we presented to the staff at Wagpos High School in North West. 
  • In October we could engage the farming community of Bothaville in the Free State.

Contact us

If you would like us to present either an in-person or virtual group event to your community or network, please make contact by sending an e-mail to:  info@case-sa.org.  

CESE AFRICA SUMMIT

The first-ever Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Africa Summit took place in Pretoria/Tshwane from 20 to 22 September 2022. The three-day programme was filled with invigorating, terrifying, sobering, and hopeful presentations on the why, what and how we can bring an end to the scourge of sexual abuse and exploitation on the African continent.

The Summit drew together over 30 (thirty) local and international speakers, and about 900 delegates attended both in person and virtually. Topics ranged from online sexual exploitation and pornography to prostitution, sex trafficking, child sexual exploitation, the protection and empowerment of vulnerable groups, and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).

At the heart of the Summit was the realisation that “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.” (A well-known quote by the late President Nelson Mandela.)

The Centre Against Sexual Exploitation, South Africa (CASE-SA), had three contributors involved in the discussion on prostitution and prostitution law reform. CASE-SA programme director, Ryan Smit, was responsible for putting together the Prostitution parallel session on 20 September. CASE-SA attorney, Liesl Pretorius, gave a presentation on the links between prostitution, pornography and sex trafficking, pointing out that these are not siloed exploitative industries but are interconnected and mutually reinforcing causes and effects fuelling and driving one another. CASE-SA legal administrator, Stefanie Kotze, presented the human rights and public policy rationale for reforming prostitution laws and looked at legitimate solutions flowing from such analyses to eradicate the exploitative system of prostitution.

If you missed the summit but are interested to engage with the content of what was discussed and shared, you can access all sessions hosted in the main plenary hall here: 

‘GOOD PICTURES BAD PICTURES’ BOOKS

CASE-SA partnered with Break Free to bring South Africa two read-along parenting books, Good Pictures Bad Pictures (for children ages 7 – 13) and Good Pictures Bad Pictures Junior (for children ages 3 – 6) by best-selling author and speaker, Kristen Jenson. 

The books empower parents to start and develop one of the most crucial family conversations in our current ‘porn-drenched’ society, telling the story of a mom and dad explaining to their children what pornography is (how to recognise it), why it is harmful (understanding the dangers) and how to respond when exposed to it (empowering children with a plan to stay safe). 

The books are available for online purchase in South Africa at www.goodpictures.co.za.

Bulk orders can be placed at: info@case-sa.org 

ERADICATE

When it comes to eradicating all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation, CASE-SA focuses on advocacy, creating awareness, and law- and policy-making initiatives. Our goal is the eradication of sexual abuse and exploitation in all its forms and ensuring that the law has the necessary protections in place to keep vulnerable groups in South Africa safe from harm!

TOGETHER WE CAN #ENDSEXPLOITATION IN SOUTH AFRICA

In our pursuit to #EndSexploitation in South Africa, we work together with others in the movement. As each person and organisation does their part, we move closer to making the vision of “eradicating sexual exploitation in our lifetime” a reality. It’s a long and tough battle we’re engaged in, and we need to support and encourage each other along the way!

LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

We engage with fellow stakeholders (both locally and abroad), ranging from other civil society organisations to academic researchers, social services and child protection practitioners, government departments and other institutional authorities, and concerned members of the public. We do so across a wide range of platforms and forums. We also continuously seek to participate in training and other opportunities to broaden and deepen our knowledge, and also to contribute to the empowerment of others by sharing knowledge and experience.

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RAISING YOUR VOICE WITH US!

At CASE-SA we are committed to relentlessly pursuing the protection of everyone’s inherent dignity through the education and empowerment of society and the eradication of pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation.

If you are passionate about protecting the vulnerable, affording every person the dignity and respect they deserve and creating a society free from sexual exploitation, we invite you to support our work by way of regular or ad-hoc donations. 

Without your contributions, our dedicated and passionate team will be unable to participate in this great project to end sexual exploitation in our lifetime. 

To join us in this important and worthy battle, visit https://case-sa.org/donate/ to show your support.

Together we CAN #EndSexploitation in South Africa!

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