The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill was published for public comment on 9 December 2022. The Bill is known as the “Prostitution Bill” and proposes to amend South African law to fully decriminalise the system of prostitution. Many religious leaders and other organisations have expressed serious concern about the implications of this action, but the time to make comments is short since the deadline is Tuesday, 31 January 2023.The “Prostitution Bill” does not specifically impact religious freedom rights, so FOR SA will not be making submissions. However, we are well aware that many members of faith communities are likely to hold strong views on prostitution (and how the law should respond to it). We, therefore, decided to highlight several considerations which members of the religious sector may find relevant and to help them to comment on this Bill.What will happen if the Bill is passed in its current form?
Here are some of the concerns that this may raise:
“The Commission has concluded that changing the legislative framework could create an extremely dangerous cultural shift juxtaposed against the high numbers of sexual crimes already committed against women. Women would be considered even more expendable than at present.”
FOR SA urges the religious sector to participate meaningfully in the prostitution law reform process. Constructively raising religious views and concerns in the public square on matters of public importance is part and parcel of fully expressing and enjoying fundamental religious freedom rights.
Links to assist in the public participation process:
Deadline:Tuesday, 31 January 2023
 See for example: NCOSE “Violence in Prostitution”; NCOSE “10 Reasons to Oppose Full Decriminalization of Prostitution”; NCOSE “Why Sex Buyers must be Stopped and How to do It”; CASE-SA “Prostitution Law Reform”; and CASE-SA “We Need to make Sense of the Transactional Sex Debate”.
Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) is dedicated to protecting and preserving the freedoms and rights that the South African Constitution has granted to the faith community. If you have found this helpful, please consider supporting the work of FOR SA to protect our constitutional right to enjoy the freedom of religion by: