Govt urged to legalise sex industry in South Africa


A GROUND-BREAKING study on sex work and human trafficking in Cape Town, authored by Chandré Gould, of Hoekwil near George, was launched last night with a critical thinking forum that aims to encourage legalisation of the industry.

The two-year study, entitled Selling Sex in Cape Town: Sex work and trafficking in a South African City, is the first of its size and kind in the country, and the first in Africa to gather quantitative data on human trafficking.

Researchers say it provides a model for much- needed similar studies in other South African cities.

Gould‘s studies found that most sex workers are young black women between the ages of 24 and 28, only five per cent are foreigners, and there is no evidence of human trafficking.

The Cape Town industry, with 1200 workers, of which 250 worked the streets, was fairly small, Gould said, and would probably remain that way if it was legalised due to the stigma attached to the industry.

“The kind of help sex workers need is protection by the law,” said Gould, a senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria. “It‘s too easy to see women in the industry as victims … opting for sex work is not easy but sometimes people‘s choices are limited,” she said.

“There will always be women who choose to do this, so let‘s make sure they‘re safe doing it.”

This could only be done in a regulated environment where workers, employers and clients were encouraged to report abuse, said Gould and co-author Nicolé Fick, of the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat).

Last night‘s launch at The Castle in Cape Town featured a critical thinking forum hosted by the Mail &0x0026; Guardian and chaired by constitutional law expert and High Court judge Dennis Davis.

“There will never be a good time to discuss this as it will always be a contentious issue. But it‘s important to protect the rights of women who are currently vulnerable to exploitation and abuse,” Gould said.

The study found evidence of employment practices in brothels that would be unacceptable in regulated industries, including taking 36% to 60% of earnings, heavy fines for late arrival or not reporting for work according to strict timetables despite being in effect freelance.

Sex workers on the streets were often harassed and threatened by police.

“Rather than reducing the number of sex workers, an aggressive policing strategy results in women working longer hours or taking more clients to make up the income lost through paying fines or spending time in jail,” the report says.

Gould‘s next study will focus on violent repeat offenders.



  1. I am a happily married Lady so I don’t want my life interrupted because of my comment please. My husband knows of my past I have no skeletons in my closet when it comes to my Family. But I have got my reputation to protect when it comes to my present employment.

    I worked for many years with one of the most well know Club owner from JHB. He provided a clean safe friendly environment for me and many others. I did not look at him as a pimp I looked at him as a business manager. Sure I paid him a fee but it was for my safety and the lovely environment he provided.

    As for the late and no show fees he charged was for his and my benefit he needed girls in order to run the Club and I need to make money if you are going to do this kind of work you have to have a business plan and it should be get in and get out and look after your assets (workout have frequent doctor check ups and never go without a condom) invest the money don’t blow it you don’t stay young forever.

    I recall onetime that the bouncers and my manager had to come to our rescue we had a large crowd of sport jocks at the club and they got out of hand and got asked to leave if it was not for the bouncer and Doc I am sure someone would have got hurt but because of the safety nets that they had in place no one ever got hurt or in a bind. As for most of our clients they were gentlemen too because no nonsense was tolerated.

    After all these years I have to say thank you to my manager and the bouncers you know who you are if you read this I hope you are all well. I have fond memories of the Ladies I worked with and the rest of the staff.

    Gaby oxoxo from a far

  2. The problems I see with the sex traffic idea is that suppose some of the women were not forced into this type of prostitution, but were willing and wanted to do this type of work, and went out of their way to do this type of work. (It is a lot of fast easy money, they don’t need a degree, or a green card.) All they have to do is lie and say that someone forced them into it. When perhaps, no one did.

    Everything I heard about this problem was Americans complaining about it, but I never heard from the so-called victims themselves complaining about it. Why is that? Many of the self appointed experts complaining about this have never even met or seen a real victim. They make up a large figure out of thin air that 2 million or more women and children become sex slaves each year. They have been saying this for over 15 years so this means that 15 X 2, 000,000 equals 30,000,000 yet no one can find all these women and children. They have no evidence to back up these numbers, and no one questions them about it. Their sources have no sources, and are made up numbers.

    A key point is that on the sidelines of a debate which has been dominated by ideology, a chorus of alarm from the prostitutes themselves is singing out virtually unheard. They oppose laws against prostitution. But no one wants to listen to the prostitutites themsleves. Only to the self appointed experts that make up numbers and stories.

    It is very difficult to force someone to be a slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities.

    What hard evidence does the police have that these women were forced slaves? Were all the women that the police saw in fact slaves? Did the police prove without a doubt due to hard concrete evidence that the women were victims of being slaves and forced against their will? Did they account for all the benefits they would receive if they lied?

    I find it very hard to believe that most women in this business are forced against their will to do it. It would just be too difficult. There may be some exceptions but, I believe this is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to fight this cause. As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me.

    The following links will give your more information about this
    Washington post article:

    Human traffic website:

    Guardian newspaper:

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