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The Church scoffs at sex work legalization

Chris Theko

The Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) has announced a firm stand against the recent revelation that Lesotho could be making in-roads towards legalization of sex work.

Speaking on behalf of CCL in an interview with this publication Bishop Monaheng Sekese said Lesotho is a dominantly Christian country governed mostly by Christian principles and values.

He said as per those very principles what the government is considering is highly immoral and something that could be detrimental for the country especially on the young and vulnerable communities. 

“We strongly believe that each and every human being is made in the image of God hence they all deserve to be respected no matter their social status, but there are some immoral principles that God mentions amongst many as prostitution, same sex marriages and adultery,” Sekese said. 

“So if the church would allow any of those things to freely take place we would be defying the word of God and the principles our country was built on as well as the very cultural principles of Basotho.

“We as the church are firmly against the legalization of sex work or any of the closely related subjects such as same sex marriage or abortion” the clergyman said.

Last week Newsday learned that Lesotho is making in-roads towards an uncommon about-turn to the otherwise conservative way of life by legalizing minority rights such as sex-workers.

According to Member of Parliament for Mabote # 29 Fako Moshoeshoe who is also Chairperson of the Social Cluster Parliamentary portfolio committee, parliament is discussing the possibility in order to be in-synch with the best international practices.

He pointed out that his committee is discussing in depth such an eventuality before it could be presented before the entire National Assembly, while also treading with caution on the matter cognizant of its sensitivities. 

Meanwhile, Sekese said they were not consulted on this development and were only shocked to hear and read about it in the media.

“Because Lesotho is a Christian country, when the government is trying to introduce certain changes in the schools they consult us because they know we have schools and also on certain matters that involve morality they consult us but this time around we have not been consulted as major stakeholders,” He said.    

Sekese who is also the leader of Assemblies of God church, stated that they were not engaged in any efforts to try and assist the sex workers to get their lives back on track saying the first step should have been to help remove them from the streets.

“The work of the church is to assist in delivering and aiding the needy and the vulnerable but they have not engaged the church in offering support, skills development and job creation” he fumed.

He added that they believe the matter is probably being considered due to selfish reasons such as the financial emoluments that could accrue to the country from the international community for complying with such unscrupulous ways. 

“The international community through the mouthpiece of some of the organisations claim that legalisation of sex work and others like same sex relations is because of the protection of human rights hence they will be putting a lot of funds into such and we know that the government is doing these things for those funds. If they cared about the livelihoods of Basotho they would instead ask for funds to improve lives and not to destroy them,” he added. 

In the same vein, the Secretary-General of the Lesotho Council of Churches (LCC) Reverend Tebatso Molapo said Lesotho should not do things just because the world is doing them. He pointed out that as the church, they believe that if any intervention is not from God is not an intervention. 

“The only intervention needed is creation of jobs, improvement of lives through life skills trainings and provision of counselling in this regard,” Molapo said. 

He blamed the government for being part of the problem all in the name of continuing to get funds from the international bodies so that they enrich themselves with them. 

He stated that the international organisation should rather keep their money if these kinds of behaviour forms part of conditions to get such funds, adding that Lesotho is well-capable of feeding her own people. 

“Those organisations funding such acts should keep their money, Lesotho is one of the wealthiest countries but has been made to look like it is incapable by greedy and selfish people” he said.

He further added that the situation needs all the sectors of the public to come together to fight what he says is a problem that needs deliverance and counselling. Molapo said should sex workers be legalized in the country, others like same sex marriage and abortion will also follow and the country will be turned into an immoral state hence the church will not allow that to happen by any means respectably possible.

The call to legalise or decriminalise sex work has been one made by the Key Affected Populations Alliance of Lesotho (KAPAL)and has in recent months seem to have caught the social cluster’s attention.  

About 77 countries in the world have unreservedly legalised sex work. Those countries include Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland and France, with some places like United States, having a few exceptions. 

In Africa, the trade is legal in the Central Africa Republic, while Senegal and Code d’Ivoire permit the operation of brothels. In Lesotho, in-roads are being made to breakdown the stereotypes as witnessed in the recent issuance of a strip club trading license. 

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