Slim pickings for prostitutes as eyes stay on ball


SEX WORKERS hoping to cash in on the arrival of hundreds of thousands of foreigners in South Africa for the World Cup have been left disappointed by the visitors’ lack of interest in illegal sex, a local women’s rights group has said.

During the 12 months leading up to the Fifa tournament, the police and local religious groups predicted the illegal sex trade would explode during the event, due to the massive influx of beer-guzzling football fans.

Some media reports predicted up to 40,000 foreign sex workers could be trafficked into the country to cater for the extra demand.

However, according to Sex Worker Education and Taskforce (SWEAT) advocacy programme manager Viviane Lalu, the predicted increase in business has failed to materialise.

“From speaking with sex workers in Cape Town over the past 10 days, we are hearing the World Cup has not increased their business and, in some instances, the girls are saying there has been a drop in client numbers.

“I think this follows the same patterns we are seeing in the informal sector as a whole, where traders and others are not benefiting financially from this event. It appears the only ones [sex workers] doing any business are located near the World Cup stadia,” she told The Irish Times.

In Gauteng province, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located, street sex workers are also having a similar experience, according to newspaper reports. One sex worker told the Pretoria Newsthe tourists she had encountered so far were “boring”. “We have not had any luck. I usually make R4,500 (€440) a month. I was hoping I would cash in R15,000 (€1,400). But it has been quiet,” said the woman, who did not want to be named.

Some of the sex workers are claiming the increased police presence combined with the cold weather has kept punters away, while others believed customers were being turned off by girls seeking too much money and the risk of contracting HIV.

Meanwhile, two Dutch women who had been arrested and charged with organising an ambush marketing stunt at a World Cup match between Denmark and the Netherlands last week have had charges dropped.

Barbara Castelein and Mirthe Nieuwpoort appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ dedicated World Cup court yesterday on an ambush marketing charge that carried a maximum sentence of six months. They were part of a group of 36 women who attended the match and stripped down to bright orange minidresses that had the Bavaria insignia on the hem. The women were arrested because Budweiser is the only beer allowed to advertise in World Cup stadiums.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said Fifa was not interested in pursuing the matter because they had reached an out-of-court settlement with Bavaria.