COSATU Gauteng’s Gender Structure outraged by the murder of six women believed to be sex workers in Johannesburg

The Congress of South African Trade Unions(COSATU) in Gauteng through its Gender Structure, is perplexed and outraged by the incident that took place on Sunday the 9th of October 2022, where six(6) bodies were discovered in a building in Central Johannesburg. It has been confirmed that the victims were sex workers, and a 21-year-old suspect has been apprehended and appeared in court in the morning of the 11th of October 2022.

This gruesome crime comes days after the International Day for Decent Work march which advocated for the right of all to a world of work, free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence. The incident is a clear indication and reminder that mountainous work still lies ahead towards the protection of rights of women, particularly women in sex work.  

The delayed implementation of decriminalisation of sex work in the country as adopted at the 13th COSATU National Congress of 2018, tends to give leeway to perpetrators raping, dehumanising, and killing their victims. This incident further reiterates the dangers sex workers face on a daily basis, which compromises their bread and butter and ultimately, their live. It is public knowledge that the police force is failing dismally and their lack of protection and visibility in such dangerous working conditions contributes to these horrendous acts in our society.

According to the International Labor Organizations C190 all workers, irrespective of their contractual status have the right to work in an environment free from violence and harassment. Furthermore, the implementation of this act stipulates that sex workers should be included in the society and should not be looked down upon, killed and outcasted.

Therefore, it is of outmost importance for the government and Law Enforcement Agencies to join forces and implement feasible strategies that would put sex workers at ease while working and ensure that their safety is prioritised.

COSATU Gauteng sends their deepest sympathies to the bereaved families and hopes that the law will play its role and convict the apprehended suspect if found guilty.


Issued by COSATU Gauteng

Provincial Gender Chairperson

Nomalanga Mdluli

083 577 3436

Provincial Gender Secretary

Sipho Ncai

061 469 2352