Bonela And Sisonke Association Of Botswana Responds To The Monitor Article - “It Takes Two To Tango”

Sex workers
Sex workers

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) and Sisonke Association of Botswana, (sex-worker led organization), wishes to expresses their views on Assistant Minister of local Government and Rural Government, Botlogile Tshireletso on her statement covered by The Monitor dated 26 January 2015 titled “It Takes Two To Tango”.

In the article, it is reported that Honourable Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; Botlogile Tshireletso spoke about  dangers faced by  sex workers  in their line of work.

She is reported to have recognised and acknowledged that, sex workers are in need of safety from those that abuse them and use them without payment. Further, she recognised them as human beings in need of protection which demonstrate inclusiveness and a helping hand to another human being.

As a human rights organizstion, BONELA finds it commendable that a high ranking official is conversant with issues affecting women and in particular, sex workers. BONELA applaud such public statements and emphasize that, sex workers need to be treated as human beings and be availed optimal health services and protection by the law.

Undoubtedly, for Botswana to reach its Vision 2016 goals; progressive and transformational leaders such as Mma Tshireletso who think outside the box, on health and human rights issues, are needed to facilitate access to services and utility of the same. The vision to protect key populations is enabled by an open dialogue as it is the only way to helping us as a country to address issues of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for sex workers and ensure that we get to zero new HIV infections by 2016.  Botswana criminalises sex work through Sections 154 and 155 of the Penal Code. These carry sanctions relating to solicitation, knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution, brothel keeping and restrictions against loitering.

It is increasingly becoming clear that other cross cutting issues of human rights violations, stigma and discrimination, gender based violence, poverty and HIV are placing sex workers at risk of HIV infection, extortion and violence in the hands of service providers, their customers and the general public. This can only push sex workers underground and deter them from accessing services, we therefore appeal to policy makers to address these issues.


For more information contact:

Keikantse E. Phele, Legal Advisor, [email protected] and [email protected]

Felistus Motimedi, Programmes Manager, [email protected]


BONELA: Tel 393 2516, Fax 393 2517

Follow BONELA on Twitter on @ bonela_ethics and like our Facebook Page BONELA

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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