Agence France Presse (11.08.11) - Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The former president of Botswana wants the country to
decriminalize prostitution in order to facilitate HIV
prevention initiatives with sex workers. One in four adults
have HIV in Botswana, and that rate has hardly moved during
the last decade.
"Decriminalizing sex work does not mean encouraging it, but it
would rather pave way for policies that protect those that
have been forced into the trade," Festus Mogae told a recent
meeting of the National AIDS Council, which he heads. "They
will be able to report men who forcibly put them at risk of
contracting the virus, and in turn men who seek their services
will no longer abuse them as might be the situation now."
The proposal has the support of the main opposition party and
its leader as well as the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and
HIV/AIDS. However, it faces a backlash among some religious
groups, and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, which Mogae
once led, has yet to take a position.
"Sex according to Christian values is meant for people in a
marriage with the aim to procreate," said Father William
Horlu, a Roman Catholic Church spokesperson. "It is taboo to
engage in sex for money and I hope Botswana, being a Christian
country, will not allow the trade to be decriminalized."
"We cannot talk about the church way because it has failed in
history," said Mogae, who has also proposed scrapping
Botswana's anti-sodomy law. He plans to bring his
recommendation to the cabinet and parliament.