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South Africa Weighs Legalizing Prostitution For World Cup

Fans heading to South Africa for the World Cup 2010 are interested in more than soccer. Anticipating that sport tourists will frequent prostitutes while they're in town, health experts are calling on the South African government to legalize prostitution for the tournament. The hope is that testing and registering legal sex workers will reduce HIV infections among visiting fans and South Africans alike.

In South Africa, approximately 50 percent of sex workers are HIV-positive. While this figure might be enough to dissuade cautious would-be customers, experts figure that the party atmosphere, fueled by alcohol, will lead to much promiscuity. In fact, South Africa has been anticipating a surge in prostitution demand for some time now. More than a year ago, police unveiled plans to legalize sex services for the 2010 games, arguing that Germany opened safe and easy "adult entertainment centers" during the 2006 World Cup. These plans have been rejected so far, for reasons including concerns about greater transmission of HIV, but if legalization means screening sex workers for HIV, it could make things safer.

No matter what happens, let's hope South Africa can use the World Cup to raise awareness about HIV testing. If that happens, everybody will walk away from the tournament a winner.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I think they should legalize it, and provide health care for the workers (Men are prostitutes too!). But the government should also make condoms more accessible, and promote sexual health. Also if someone is going to visit a working person, then they SHOULD use protection! They're kinda stupid if they don't. (And a lot of sex workers won't take a client if they wont use protection)
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I think the women who don't pass the screening will go ahead and do it illegally anyway, the way they always have. Since people are willing to risk their health with an illegal prostitute, I doubt there will be concern whether she is legal or not, especially in a 'party atmosphere'. Though we can always hope the debate of legalizing prostitution will make those seeking this service think twice. And after the tournament?
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
wow. glad that someone is being proactive about health, even if through a someone unsavory topic
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