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Sex Work Decrim Bill

Request for Submissions on the Sex Work Decrim Bill

(the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill, 2022)


I am sure that people will be aware that the Department of Justice has recently published a draft bill that intends to repeal all the legislation that currently criminalises the sex work industry in South Africa, i.e., the Sexual Offences Act, 1957 (Act No. 23 of 1957) as well as section 11 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007).

This draft bill represents the output of 25 years of work on the part of the Sex Worker sector in South Africa and we are fully in support of the contents. The Bill is now open for public comments and we are reaching out to anyone who is interested in making a submission to please do so. Submissions can be long or short, but we have been warned that if they are too long, they tend not to be read! Submissions can come from anyone be it organisations, individuals, international groups, research centres etc.

While this process is not just about the number of submissions received, we do know that our opposition will be mobilising large numbers of people to write submissions and want the committee to see that they do not represent all or even most of the opinions on decriminalisation. Colleagues who have worked on similar processes in the past have warned us that multiple identical submissions tend to be viewed negatively by the department and lead to questions about the legitimacy of these submission, as such we have not developed a template for submission but have highlighted a few key points that we would hope come through load and clear and request that you please incorporate some or all of these into your submissions. Additionally, the Asijki Coalition will (in early January) be developing a submission of its own and this will be available for any individual or organisation to endorse, regardless of whether you have submitted a separate submission of your own.


The Bill’s full title is the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill, 2022 and it can be linked to here:

The Bill is currently open for comments and the deadline for all submission is Tuesday 31 January 2023. Comments can be sent in the following ways:

By Post to: The Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development, Private Bag X 81, Pretoria, 0001,

By fax to : for the attention of Tsietsi Sebelemetja 012 406 4632


The following points represent the key messages that we as the sex work sector would like to be reflected in submissions. These are not exhaustive, and we appreciate that many of you have areas of skill and expertise that we do not and hope that you will bring all of these to your submissions.

  1. We are in full support of the Bill as it stands, it represents the request of sex workers and their allies.

  2. We are clear that sex work can only be considered to be decriminalised if BOTH the selling and buying of sex are decriminalised and reject any suggestion that either be removed from the bill.

  3. We fully support the expungement of all existing criminal records related to the any offences related to the contents of this bill.

  4. We support the notion that once this bill is passed there needs to be a further process of making this real for all sex workers by tackling issues such as bylaws that will continue to criminalise sex workers.

Also indicate in your submission whether you would be willing to make an oral submission to Parliament.


Should you want to reach out for support with the drafting of your submission or want them to be read and commented on prior to submission please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We have set up an email address specifically to collate submissions and will check it regularly over the holiday and into January, this address is but you can also reach out at or

Thank you so much for your willingness to s

upport us on this.

Forward to Decrim in 2023 (or 2024)

We are ready!!!!


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