Durban – Kwanele, a prostitution-survivor-led movement, on Monday held a protest outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court in support of fellow member Carmen Nan Lee, the mother of murdered sex worker Siam Lee.
Last year in January 20-year-old Siam Lee went missing from what was believed to be a brothel in Durban North. Her charred body was discovered two days later on a farm in New Hanover.
Philani Ntuli, the man accused of her murder, had paid her for sex before he allegedly murdered her.
“Enough is enough. We are here to demonstrate and speak against the ills of the system of prostitution. We have been following this case and supporting Siam’s mother since its inception last year,” said Mickey Meji, leader of Kwanele.
Meji is also the advocacy manager of not-for-profit organisation, Embrace Dignity, which is based in Cape Town
“We want justice for Siam Lee. Justice for Siam is justice for all the prostituted women who have suffered all kinds of violence from pimps, brothel owners and buyers.
"We want all the men who buy women to know that it is not okay to buy women for sexual acts. Women are not commodities to be bought and sold,”
Meji said Kwanele stands in solidarity with Siam Lee’s mother and all the women who have died at the hands of men who had paid for sexual acts.
“We are tired of being physically abused, raped and murdered by buyers, brothel owners and pimps,” said Meji.
“Siam Lee is one of the many women who has been brutally killed by a sex buyer. [The accused] Philani Ntuli is just one of many buyers who highlight the way prostituted women are treated on a daily basis".
Meji said that this case also highlights an important message that violence against sex workers has nothing to do with the fact that prostitution is illegal in South Africa, but do with unacceptable behaviour of some of the men who pay women for sexual acts.
“This shows that legalisation and full decriminalisation of prostitution will not [necessarily] make the sex trade safe for prostituted women,” said Meji.
African News Agency/ANA