Sex workers’ lives in danger after houses burnt

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A SEX worker, who operates from one of the houses that were burnt down by angry community members in Krugersdorp, says she is now forced to work under dangerous conditions as she has no proper shelter.

The sex worker, Thando*, 21, says she has to work on the street which is dangerous and bad for business. “We’re still staying here because luckily for us, this one room has not burned down but it is not like we can bring a client here,” she said. She said the police were taking care of them. Thando and several other sex workers from three brothels were left destitute after members of the community went on the rampage burning down suspected brothels in the area.

The unrest was sparked by a rumour that a teenage girl from Kagiso had been kidnapped by Nigerian nationals living in the area. While police visibility has increased, community members have threatened a complete shutdown of the whole of Mogale City to reclaim the city and clean up crime, drugs and human trafficking this week. Police spokesperson Sgt Tshepiso Mashele said she did not know if the planned shutdown would lead to violence by community members. “We are patrolling the areas where houses have been burnt and making sure that there is no crime. “It is not yet clear if the city shutdown will happen as I have only seen a Facebook update about it,” Mashele said. West Rand cluster commander Maj-Gen Mateise has applauded the community for its swift response to ensure that the young woman was found. “Vigilantism is not the answer to any situation.

We are fortunate that no life was lost due to these senseless acts,”Mateise said. A Zimbabwean national, Audrey Singo, who lives across from one of the burnt houses said there was no need for houses to be burnt. “They took this whole thing too far. There were two babies living in this house and they could have hurt them. Most importantly this house belongs to a Zulu man, not these Nigerians that the community was angry with,” Singo said. She said that she had seen much prostitution and that the police seemed to be working with the perpetrators, therefore the crime had been going on for many years.

African Diaspora Forum spokesperson Marc Gafou said delegates were sent to Krugersdorp as soon as the violent attacks started. “It is time that we all unite to fight crime and not associate crime with a certain nationality. “It is also important that people in communities are taught how to report crime and escalate it if they do not receive a response to their first attempt,” Gafou said. * Not her real name