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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The 2010 Football World Cup and the regulation of sex work in South Africa
Author:Bonthuys, ElsjeISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 0305-7070)
Geographic term:South Africa
human trafficking
Abstract:While the South African government expected the 2010 Football World Cup to stimulate economic growth and infrastructure development, and to foster a sense of national unity amongst its citizens, members of the public and the media anticipated an increased demand for commercial sex. The call, in 2007, by the National Commissioner of Police to legalize sex work for the duration of the tournament stimulated debates on the legal status of sex work. Media reports show how advocates for sex workers' rights used the publicity around the event to argue for the legalization of sex work and the protection of sex workers' human rights. However, these calls were persistently overshadowed by claims that up to 40,000 foreign women would be trafficked into the country for sex work, and claims that many children would be abducted or trafficked for the same purpose. Similar claims have been made in the past in relation to other large sporting events, especially the 2006 Football World Cup held in Germany. However, these fears have not materialized elsewhere, nor did they do so in 2010. Fears of sex trafficking represent a form of moral panic which, while purporting to focus on the well-being of trafficked sex workers, often instead provide justification for the harassment and punishment of sex workers. This happened at the German World Cup and such fears were used to similar effect in the Cape Town Metro. The preoccupation with trafficking and child sexual abuse distract attention from more important issues in debates about sex work, such as the ways in which the State, global and local commercial interests, and beliefs about sexuality in the wider society, construct and uphold women's economic dependence on men and the routine exploitation of women's sexuality. These factors create and sustain the conditions which force women to resort to sex work, both in the formal sex work industry, and in 'informal' sex work transactions. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]