THE Executive Director of the largest sex workers organisation in the country, Rights Not Rescue, Nicodemus 'Mama Africa' Aochamub says that decriminalising prostitution is better than legalising it.
Aochamub told The Namibian that "we are thankful that Kazenambo Kazenambo is brave to stand up for us, but we [prostitutes] prefer that sex work be decriminalised than be legalised."
According to Aochamub who has been a sex worker for the past three decades, legalising sex-work will put limitations on their work.
"With legalising, we will work under municipal laws such as registration of the sex workers with the relevant authorities, creating specific red-light districts and forcing us to do regular medical checks as well as to carry identification cards," reasoned Aochamub.
Aouchamub said that being confined to red-light districts and being required to register will negatively impact on prostitutes' meagre income.
Decriminalising sex work, Aochamub said, would render all legislation outlawing prostitution ineffective.
"Time has come for sex work to be regarded like any other employment, as it income generating - children are sent to school and we put bread on our tables," said the outspoken Aochamub.
There are more than 1 000 prostitutes' who are members of the Rights Not Rescue organisation, according to the Executive Director.
However, Aochamub partly welcomed minister Kazenambo's call to legalise sex work, because this will enable them to report cases of rape and abuse, which they presently cannot do as they are engaged in an illegal trade.
"We appreciate minister Kazenambo's stance to have it legalised but we don't want limited rights, therefore we asked for the trade to be decriminalised. Currently, we cannot even report gender based violence inflicted on us by our clients, boyfriends or husbands because we can be arrested," Aochamub told The Namibian.
The Executive Director also lashed out at the law enforcement officers for threatening sex workers with arrest or demanding sexual favours as well as for taking money from prostitutes when they report cases of abuse to them.