UKHOZI FM presenter Ayanda Msweli has taken it upon himself to help s.e.x workers with grievances against truck drivers and the police.
Msweli made this vow on Wednesday, 22 September, at eThekwini Community Church in Durban.
This during a dialogue with them under the banner of his initiative, Ayanda Msweli Foundation.
Also in attendance were Commission for Gender Equality defender Zanele Ncwane, Ukhozi FM presenter Mroza Buthelezi, and organisations advocating for sex work justice Sisonke as well as Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force.
Sex workers indicated that truck drivers ignored their agreement after getting tlof tlof.
One magosha said: “Sometimes they agree to park at a certain spot for the rest of the night, but later on drive away. When you complain, they dump you in the middle of nowhere.”
Another one added: “When the truck is involved in an accident, they drag and dump you far away from the scene because they want to save their jobs.”
Then another s.e.x worker said: “Sometimes they refuse to pay us after tlof tlof while others demand that we don’t use condoms.”
They said when they reported these cases to the police, they ended up being the ones who got arrested.
“We ask you, Msweli, to assist us because we’ve seen you intervening in certain issues affecting those who can’t speak for themselves and after that, they get assistance,” said one s.e.x worker.
Msweli, who is writing a book about the abuse women faced in the transport sector, said he would dedicate one chapter to the grievances raised by s.e.x workers.
“I learnt about the cruelty these women face every day. Being an advocate for women abuse in the transport industry, I’m against this form of abuse. Now that I know their challenges, I’m going to see how I can assist,” he said.
He added that he would also organise a march to the police headquarters, where together with s.e.x workers, he would submit a memorandum of demands.
He said the police refusing to open rape cases for s.e.x workers meant statistics issued every quarter of the year were not accurate.
“If police refuse to open cases, then the figures we’re given are not truthful. That needs to be addressed because s.e.x workers are also human,” said Msweli.
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