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South Africa Prostitution 2018 Preliminary Findings

Study by Embrace Dignity and Prostitution Research & Education

Here are some of our preliminary findings, March 5, 2018.

Indigenous South African women are at great risk for all of the factors that increasevulnerability to prostitution: family and community violence including an epidemic of sexual violence, life-threatening poverty, lack of educational and job opportunities, lack of health services throughout their lifetimes, and lack of culturally appropriate social services that would help them escape prostitution. When alternatives to prostitution are not available – although it can appear to be a choice – prostitution is coerced by social harms such as child abuse, racism, sexism, and poverty. All of these forms of violence against women, including prostitution, are related. A 2017 study by Hatcher et al. found that men in Johannesburg who had been involved in transactional sex were 3.5 times more likely to commit violence against women or girls. Transactional sex is a less stigmatized term than prostitution, but exactly like prostitution it is the exchange of goods or services for sex acts. In another study that investigated factors contributing to men’s decision to rape women, researchers interviewed more than 1000 men in Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico, and Rwanda. In all 5 countries, men who paid for sex were more likely to commit rape (Heilman, Herbert, & Paul-Gera, 2014).


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