JCC condemned for exposing sex worker on camera
A researcher at Human Rights Watch has condemned the Juba City Council (JCC) for intimidating a sex worker on camera after arrest.
Last week, a video of a woman believed to be a sex worker was posted on the official Facebook page of Juba City Council.
In the video, a group of male officials and armed police officers could be seen harassing and provoking the young woman they arrested at Jebel market. Mayor Kalisto Lado, was himself seen in the video interrogating the woman.
“Are you a sex seller? You talk properly, don’t you know that you are spoiling this country? Don’t you know that you are spoiling men and women of this country?
“Are you sick before we take you for examination, are you infected?” the mayor asks as the visibly frightened woman responds.
He went on to say: “So that is the work you are doing there, how many of you are there, how much are you charging persons for your work?”
Another man, believed to be among the city council officers asked: “Are you renting that place and how many years have you been in this business?”
The woman in the video appears humiliated and afraid to reply to some of their questions.
The woman then confessed to the municipal officers that she has been carrying out the business for three years and often charges customers SSP 500 to SSP 1,000.
When contacted for comment, Mayor Lado denied responsibility in exposing the sex worker on the official Facebook of the Juba City Council.
He claimed that the city council was implementing the public order that prohibits bad practices such as prostitution and witchcraft activities in the city.
“I respect the opinion of anybody criticizing the move, [but] when they were doing their witchcraft and prostitution were they doing it in hiding?” he asked.
Lado alleged that the critics should blame the media for exposing the video instead of criticizing Juba City Council or the mayor for exposing those women.
“They should also blame the media but not the Juba City Council or the mayor for exposing them,” he defended.
A South Sudanese Researcher at the Human Rights Watch Africa Division Nyagoah Tut Pur condemned the act saying the video was intended to humiliate and stigmatize the sex worker.
Tut had worked with Amnesty International as a campaigner in Sudan and South Sudan before joining the Human Rights Watch.
In her report released on Monday, Tut said, “the video, which is intended to humiliate and stigmatize its target, demonstrates yet again how the criminalization of sex work in South Sudan exposes workers to abuse and exploitation and the discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDs.”
“Such actions not only violate the rights to privacy, equality, and freedom from discrimination but also fuel stigmatization and ignorance of HIV/AIDS,” Tut added.
Human Rights Watch research in numerous countries, including South Africa and Tanzania, has shown that criminalization leaves sex workers vulnerable to violence, including rape, assault, and murder. Their attackers see sex workers as easy targets because they are stigmatized and unlikely to receive help from responsible authorities.