Soweto’s sex-for-sale trade

Sowetan - - News -

Some of the neigh­bours of sex work­ers who are op­er­at­ing from the com­fort of their homes have pleaded ig­no­rance about the trade.

Soweto res­i­dent Hen­drick Makola was taken aback when asked about his neighbour’s ac­tiv­i­ties in a house nearby.

“I’m hear­ing about it for the first time from you,” said Makola, 25, who has been liv­ing in Glen­ridge, Soweto, for 10 years.

Makola con­demned the op­er­a­tion, say­ing it could rub off neg­a­tively on young­sters who might see it as an easy way out should they strug­gle to find jobs.

“The au­thor­i­ties should put an end to this [pros­ti­tu­tion] with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.”

Makola’s fe­male neighbour, who pre­ferred to re­main anony­mous, was equally shocked.

“The sur­pris­ing thing is that we hold meet­ings on a reg­u­lar ba­sis where we dis­cuss neg­a­tive things like crime and so on hap­pen­ing in our vicin­ity, and no one has ever raised the is­sue of pros­ti­tu­tion.”

An­other neighbour, who asked not be named, re­vealed that the in­for­ma­tion only came to light after his friend re­cently brought it to his at­ten­tion.

“I don’t think pros­ti­tutes should be crit­i­cised be­cause peo­ple don’t op­er­ate on the same moral level and it is not neg­a­tively af­fect­ing mem­bers of the com­mu­nity,” he said.

Napo Lepha­lale, who has been liv­ing in White City for more than 30 years, said he first heard about the sex trade ru­mours in Fe­bru­ary.

“I don’t think it’s good for school chil­dren to be ex­posed to pros­ti­tu­tion be­cause as soon as these young girls be­come broke they will con­sider ven­tur­ing into the trade,” Lepha­lale ar­gued.

He said, how­ever, pros­ti­tutes could work for men who “don’t want to cheat” and pre­fer “buy­ing” sex on the side as there were no strings at­tached.

Lepha­lale’s neighbour Pamela Ndlovu said she has never heard of or seen signs of the sex work­ers op­er­at­ing in the area.

“If we could find out where these sex work­ers are op­er­at­ing, we as com­mu­nity mem­bers could protest and get them out of our town­ship,” she said an­grily.

Sex Worker Ed­u­ca­tion and Ad­vo­cacy Task­force spokes­woman Lesego Tl­h­wale said: “In no way is sex work an easy way out, but some­times the only way to make a liv­ing in a coun­try with the largest un­em­ploy­ment rate in the world.” – Mpho Sibany­oni

/ PHOTOS KA­BELO MOKOENA

Hen­drink Makola ex­presses his shock that sex work­ers are trad­ing in his neigh­bour­hood.

Napo Lepha­lale says sex work­ers are a bad ex­am­ple.

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