Fordham Law Professor Chi Mgbako was quoted by The Nation on South African sex workers’ ongoing law-reform campaign to decriminalize sex work.
“In South Africa, where sex workers have been pursuing a law-reform campaign to decriminalize sex work for years, the announcement of the Amnesty policy put renewed energy into their efforts,” Chi Mgbako, clinical professor of law and director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School, and author of To Live Freely in This World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa, told me. Not long after Amnesty’s 2015 vote authorizing the policy’s development, said Mgbako, “South African sex workers publicly launched a broader coalition of activists advocating for the full decriminalization of sex work called ‘Asijiki,’ which means ‘no turning back’ in Zulu.”
Amnesty’s policy is very clear: The leadership of sex workers themselves is necessary when developing any sound laws on sex work. And for sex workers, it’s been a long time in coming. “For decades sex workers around the world have been documenting how the criminalization of sex work leads to devastating human-rights abuses against their community,” said Mgbako. “Far too often, their voices and inspiring activism are erased from discussions about sex work. I commend Amnesty for not only following the evidence but for refusing to ignore the voices of the people most affected—sex workers themselves.”