Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Prostitution Clean-Up Has Some Worried About Health During World Cup

Broad cleanup efforts targeting the sex worker industry in South Africa have garnered the support of family and religious groups, but have some health officials and researchers worried about the lack of oversight and expected boost in prostitution during the World Cup.

In September, Cape Town set up a vice squad tasked with "cleaning up" the city's brothels and prostitutes - a move applauded by religious and family groups.

"There is quite a sense of religious and sexual moralism on the subject that does not help in term of public health and human rights," said Marlise Richter, a researcher who collaborates with sex worker advocacy groups.

"Making sex work more invisible makes it harder for sex workers to negotiate safer sex, and it will have greater influence on HIV prevalence."

South Africa already has the world's biggest HIV caseload, with 5,7 million of its 48 million people infected. An estimated 45 percent of prostitutes have the disease, according to a 1998 study.

Prostitutes fear 2010 clean-up
Independent Online
November 20, 2009