Thursday, April 20, 2006

Southern African Women Forced to Choose Prostitution

In an article posted yesterday on the UN's IrinNews.org we learn that that in conjunction with the current humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, many young women from this country and other Southern African countries, are illegally crossing into South Africa looking for a better life:
Without legal documents, and far from their homes in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and elsewhere, newly arrived female migrants are often forced into sex work simply because they lack alternatives.
Once they arrive, however, many find the available prospects bleak, and for lack of other options are forced to choose prostitution in this country where more than 80% of the prostitutes test positive for HIV.
According to Khopotso Nakin, director of the New Life Centre for Girls, an NGO, [this] story is far from unusual: of the estimated 10,000 commercial sex workers in Hillbrow, a rough inner-city neighbourhood where many hotels double as brothels, 20 percent come from other parts of Africa.

"I never heard of any girl who came here to do sex work," Nakin said. "They come looking for a better living and hoping that their lives will change. Then, most of them get a surprise when they come here."
Read the full article here.

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