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Botswana starts purge against sex workers

Tuesday November 5 2013

Sex workers in a past protest march. Botswana’s blitz on sex workers took off over the weekend with at least 30 women arrested as part of a campaign to curb the influx of sex workers and gays in the southern African country. PHOTO/FILE

Sex workers in a past protest march. Botswana’s blitz on sex workers took off over the weekend with at least 30 women arrested as part of a campaign to curb the influx of sex workers and gays in the southern African country. PHOTO/FILE 

By MTOKOZISI DUBE NATION Correspondent

Botswana’s blitz on sex workers took off over the weekend with at least 30 women arrested as part of a campaign to curb the influx of sex workers and gays in the southern African country.

Botswana recently embarked on a campaign that prostitutes will either be detained if they are locals or deported if they are foreigners for their “disorderly and indecent” behaviour.

Acting Botswana Police Services (BPS) public relations officer, Mr Dipheko Motube insists the campaign must be treated like any other operation targeting emerging crime trends. “Sex work, like any other offence, is worrisome in this country.

It’s one of the offences that are prevalent in this country, but we treat it like any other offence,” Mr Motube said.

Motube went on to confirm to the media in Botswana that police had handed some of the women suspected to have been soliciting for sex to the Department of Immigration for verification of their identity documents.

He said the onus was now on Immigration officials to see whether they deport the foreign nationals or not.

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“I can confirm that we managed to arrest thirty women who are suspected to be ladies of the night or sex workers. They were charged with idle and disorderly person,” he said. 

The campaign is scheduled to run for the next six months.

Alongside regular crackdowns against prostitutes, the Health ministry will put out messages against sex work billboards in strategic areas and on branded vehicles.

Newspaper adverts, articles, posters, flyers, radio and television adverts on sexually transmitted infections and dangers of sex work will also be used.