Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Experts: Money the motive

CAPE TOWN — "Easy money" and false promises draw many young people into the shadowy world of prostitution where they easily fall victim to drug abuse.

"Normally, the main motive is money. It is an easy way to make money," Dr Charl Nortje, clinical psychologist and lecturer in psychopathology at the University of Stellenbosch, says.

"You sometimes find people who have motives other than money, for example adventure or finding pleasure in the fear associated with the work," he says.

Vivene Lalu, training co-ordinator of the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat), says that although statistics are sketchy, it seems as if the number of male sex workers in the Cape metropolitan area is growing.

"The industry is so diverse that it is difficult to say how long people do this work. Some work for a while and never return. Others work for years," she says.

"Sex workers are very aware of their vulnerability — whether they work on the street or from a house.

"However, drug abuse is not limited to the world of prostitution. There are sex workers who use drugs, but it is important to remember that it is an industry that lends itself to criminal activities where drug dealers thrive. All sex workers are not drug addicts who have to work to support their drug habit."

Leo (pseudonym), a Cape sex worker, says drugs do not feature in the work he does.

"I do what I do to support myself and my family. My clients are not dangerous. All of them are gentlemen — friendly and generous men who will not hurt me."

Dan (pseudonym), another sex worker, says he does it for the money. "You want to put food on the table, but I know friends who use drugs to switch their brains off from what they are doing."

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Created: January 24, 2003
Last modified: January 24, 2003
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