A cockroach bums a lift with us and scampers across the elevator buttons as if to double-check that we are on our way to the eleventh floor. She puts her coffee cup down gently to avoid drawing attention, as she explains to me in a low voice what life is like as a prostitute on the city's very mean streets. The principle of decriminalisation was adopted at the recent ANC's policy conference, which sets it on track for approval when the party meets again to decide national policy in December.
She asks if I have brought my ID book and I shake my head, puzzled.
I enter the conversation by saying I can leave my bag and jersey with him. Either way, I am sure we all leave in shiny, new ship-shop shape. South Africa is traditionally Christian and conservative, and so the argument over supply and demand of sex workers is key to the debate here, as are concerns over the trafficking of women. I tell her how I like the idea of looking like a fearless witch when I have black finger nails.
Sometimes you just mind your own business. We chat about Sisonke Bayside-TX adult personals Worker Movement and other sex workers we know.
Sisonke is a sex worker organisation recently established at the Hillbrow Health Precinct. I then realise she means the clients who require perfectly manicured nails — not the ones who need other, more private hoookers of their anatomy attended to. Looking through the murky window, it feels as if I am on top of the world and overlooking a great forest of flats. A street in Hillbrow. For a moment I am puzzled. That is, afric you can return at all.
Here in the informal atmosphere of her beauty spa bedroom, Pauline expands on a thorny issue — tensions between foreign and South African sex workers.
The paint is peeling and the name has become so faint that it is barely readable. A conservative society and unsympathetic police force leave women and men in the Sough industry with few rights when things go wrong. At this, the officers left the Sojth, only to kick and punch people further down the passage. She took a bus to Johannesburg. A Pakistani-run cafe spills goods onto the sidewalk. These are not unfounded fears: sex workers in Hillbrow are regularly arrested and beaten by police.
Will it make any material change to the lives of foreign sex workers, we wonder? They were, they said, looking for drugs.
If I close my eyes I can see all the way to the sea from here. The South African Law Reform Commission — the statutory body responsible for making recommendations on law reform — has been mulling over this question since the early s, and no end is in sight.
Change for women like Lilly is on the horizon, although it may not be soon. We stroll past hawkers selling anything from plastic toys and fresh spinach to cellphone chargers. I take the same route back and walk past the same enquiring eyes. The women's league of the governing African National Congress party hopes so and it has claimed a victory which takes the country one step further towards legal soliciting, writes the BBC's Kate Forbes in Johannesburg.
I nod at the security guard looking after my car and spot Pauline at the entrance of the Esselen Street Clinic. Sex work is illegal in South Africa and sex workers cannot rely on the law to protect them — much Casual encounters free in Duluth ca take the enforcers of the law to task.
We talk about the campaign to decriminalise sex work that we are both involved in. Pauline covers my toe nails in Champagne Gold She moves her chair forward to start work on my rough hands.
The commission released an Issue Paper in containing their research, and a Discussion Paper in which was understood to contain their recommendations and draft legislation. It is run by sex workers, and its business is sex work issues.
She exchanges a few words in Shona with the security guard. I tell him it will take an additional 15 minutes to go and get my ID. A curious white visitor who makes a living from gathering stories and information from people who have to survive in the harsh reality of Hillbrow every day: those whose living is fraught with dangerous clients, violent boyfriends, megalomaniac police men, corrupt hotel managers and life-threatening viruses. You have no rights. Indeed, at the Cape Town Consultation we decided to call on government to place a moratorium on all sex work-related arrests during the World Cup period in order to alleviate some of these problems.
We afrrica the lift down to the foyer and I see my cockroach friend is still making the rounds. Sex workers are understandably anxious about the changes that will come with international scrutiny and hype. Even the mobile clinic staff of the RHRU has felt the dangerous disquiet that comes with this clean-sweeping of Johannesburg.
The security guard has his palm crossed and I wave him goodbye. In a flash, Pauline pulls me back out of the way afria a speeding car. There is plenty of work here for the metro cops, I think. This friend introduced her to the sex trade and helped set her up.
One might wonder how the chickens arrived on a particular street corner, where they will go tonight, or how in this tight utterly urban space, they are likely to meet their end. Roadworks have been going on forever in Hillbrow and many of the traffic lights are still not working. She shrinks from the metaphor, but is happy that I am happy. This is unlike her — we spoke half an hour earlier and agreed to meet at the front door. I am uncertain on my feet and it is only when I am back in my car where my trusty cellphone awaits that I feel that I am on safer ground.
He is not convinced. Pauline has been able to make a living since and tells me that she now has a passport and visa. Affable calls and loud conversations create a Babel of magic that embellishes the poverty, squalor and threat of crime for a second.