11.10.10

Category: Gender, HIV and AIDS

IT is necessary to identify the diverse and complex range of legal, social and economic elements related to prostitution in order to establish an adequate policy and legislative options to either regulate, deter, prevent or reduce prostitution in Namibia. Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Health Minister Richard Kamwi said from the perspective of his Ministry, “we need to approach this matter with the care, attention and professionalism it deserves, so that collectively, we find the best options to address it, based on evidence and facts on the ground.”

Concerns related to public health and HIV-AIDS also had to be addressed.Youth, Sport and Culture Minister Kazenambo Kazenambo had called for the legalisation of prostitution in Namibia during a debate on a strategic HIV-AIDS framework tabled in Parliament two weeks ago. His demand caused an outcry among some non-governmental organisations and the Council of Churches of Namibia.

Kazenambo argued that prostitution was prevalent and prominent Namibian men were “buying sex”, which should be regarded as a way of earning an income for girls and women who wanted to escape poverty. Even former President Sam Nujoma spoke against the legalisation of prostitution last week while he was guest speaker at an event in Windhoek.On Wednesday Kamwi gave his response to the debate on the national strategic HIV-AIDS framework and also spoke about sex work.

Kamwi said in his view, prostitution was both a social problem and a form of violence against women, in the case of female prostitution. “It is also considered an immoral and illegal activity. The stigma and discrimination of prostitutes may negate them their right to access healthcare, while at the same time we reduce the demand for prostitution and create an environment for prostitutes to exit prostitution.

“This is a rather complex matter that needs to be given full attention at another opportunity, but we recognise that it is necessary to address it, in a broader context,” Kamwi told the House.After Kazenambo’s demand to legalise prostitution, Deputy Speaker Loide Kasingo told the House this was an important matter and that she would welcome it if an MP would table a motion to that effect in Parliament.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 29 June 2011 08:17)