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article imageShould prostitution be legalised in Botswana?

By Samuel Okocha     Dec 2, 2010 in World
Some politicians in Botswana called on the southern African country to consider legalising prostitution to fight against HIV.
Botswana is said to have a high prevalence of HIV, and equally known for being proactive in the campaign against HIV/Aids.
"My opinion is: We should consider looking at it because it is there - we should as government take the initiative to do something to help these workers," A deputy minister Botlogile Tshireletso, told the BBC.
According to the BBC, despite research findings which show that infection rates are high along commercial truck routes [where prostitution thrives], there is an unwillingness to legalise brothels.
"Firstly the majority view is very clear, Botswana is against the legislation making illegal sex work a legal economic activity," Opposition leader Dumelang Saleshando agreed said. "But at the same time you can't ignore it… the industry itself is one of the drivers of the virus".
A BBC investigation revealed that commercial sex workers are at an increasing risk because of the illegal tag placed on their trade.
"[Legalising sex work] will help us to stand up for our rights… and get support for HIV and Aids," one sex worker in Ledumadumane, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Gaborone, said.
Another commercial sex worker told the BBC: "I know I'm not safe because when I'm doing it outdoors I can get raped or even the client can rob me."
Continued argument
"If it [prostitution] is legalised, more people are going to engage in commercial sex, which means there'll be more infections," one woman said.
But a few men reportedly favoured the legalisation of prostitution in Botswana."It should be legalised because it's a lot harder to govern something you don't have the statistics on," one told BBC's reporter.
More about Botswana, Sex workers, Legalising prostitution
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