Experiences of Female Commercial Sex Workers in Marabastad, Pretoria

  •  O. W. Letlape    
  •  M. Dube    


This paper discusses critically the experiences of the female commercial sex workers in Marabastad, Pretoria in South Africa. Even though commercial sex work is illegal in South Africa, evidence suggests that some women practice it owing to various factors and an investigative analysis of engaging in such an illegal activity in South Africa needs thorough investigation. This paper aims at providing synthesis on the bio-psychosocial benefits and risks of commercial sex work for women involved in it. A qualitative research approach was adopted which purposely interviewed nine women who practised commercial sex work in Marabastad. Due to secrecy in commercial sex work, snowball sampling was also employed to ensure that only women involved in the practice would be accessed to reach data saturation point for the study. Data were analysed thematically to capture the experiences of women. The findings showed that even though women practise commercial sex work in Marabastad, risks are more experienced than the benefits. Unpleasant life circumstances were revealed as the most compelling reasons women practised commercial sex work despite the inevitable bio-psychosocial consequences.  This paper recommends various multi-sectorial approaches to ameliorate the consequences experienced by women practicing commercial sex work in Marabastad in South Africa.

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