Laws criminalising women working as prostitutes should be scrapped, a study commissioned by the Coalition of Women Living with HIV and Aids (Cowla) to document, review and analyse the existing literature on key variables around violence against women, has concluded.
The sale and purchase of sex is currently illegal in Malawi.
But the study—titled ‘Gender-Based Violence and HIV Documentation’ and released last month has challenged Malawians to lobby for sex work to be made legal.
“The moral and legal environments are thus hostile for sex workers and subject them to violence that is rarely reported,” reads the study.
Cowlha executive director Annie Banda said : “Even though female sex workers have experienced violence to a larger extent than their male counterparts, male sex workers are comparatively in minority and less known to the extent that they are unable to report gender based violence, access healthcare and other services when in need related to the trade; as well as making their voice heard by authorities.”
Most people interviewed by Nyasa Times to comment on the study shared mixed views.
Those in support of the idea arguedgethat legalized, well-regulated prostitution can be both safe and profitable.
They says Malawi should let people “sell sex in a well-regulated capacity” and that legal prostitution can be a source of tax revenue.
Making sex work a crime can drive prostitutes underground and make them less likely to practice safe sex and get tested for sexually transmitted disease, one observer said/
Some oppose legalisation, arguing that more demand for sex would lead to more trafficking.
No politician asked about the issue was ready to champion the idea and MPs are unlikely to support the bill.
Those selling sex will continue to live in the shadows.
There will always be lonely or kinky men in Malawi who will pay for sex, and there will always be women willing to rent out their bodies.
Malawi, largely a Christian and conservative nation, legalize and regulate a ton of commerce that’s morally controversial — like gambling, alcohol, tobacco and perhaps now the debate of decriminalising consenting sex work would gain momentum.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :