From “Sex Work” Advocate to Survivor Leader: A Journey Embraced
Taina Bien-Aime interviews Nomonde Mihlali (“Mickey”) Meji in Cape Town
May 25, 2017
Nomonde Mihlali (“Mickey”) Meji is a program associate for Survivor Initiatives at Embrace Dignity in Cape Town, South Africa. Embrace Dignity is dedicated to ending all forms of sexual abuse of women and girls through legal advocacy, public education and exit services for trafficked and prostituted women. Mickey sat with me in New York during the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2017 to discuss her activism, from endorsing the full decriminalization of the sex trade to now advocating for a law that calls for its abolition.
You have an extensive presence on the Internet as a “sex work” advocate but you now have joined the abolitionist organization Embrace Dignity. What was your journey?
During my time on the street, one of my main concerns was police harassment. I needed to make money for my children and the only group working on police violence was the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (S.W.E.A.T.) They introduced me to the term “sex work,” which I had never before heard. The concept was attractive at first because I felt they understood our dire situation. “Sex worker” sounded more dignified than …read more
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