No 'boom boom' for Joburg's sex workers
By Thabiso Thakali and Candice Bailey
There's just no "boom boom" in Joburg's sex industry. Sex workers hoping to turn a quick buck when thousands of horny soccer fans descended on the city for the World Cup say they have been disappointed.
And while some upmarket strip clubs say business has been good, others have been forced to cancel shows.
Even metered taxi drivers delivering girls to tourists say business has died down.
In the months leading up to the World Cup, there was mounting expectation that prostitution would peak.
Reports suggested that up to 40 000 sex workers would be brought into the country to satisfy the demand for sex.
But last year, during the Confederations Cup, prostitution suffered a hammer blow when a theft from the Egyptian team's hotel room at the Protea Wanderers in Illovo was blamed on prostitutes.
Initial reports suggested that there had been prostitutes in the players' room, but the police later ruled this out.
Nevertheless, since then, hotels have begun clamping down on sex workers.
On the streets this week, the winter chill and increased police visibility meant fewer sex workers on the strip.
Visits during peak cruising hours, around 9pm, to the traditional red-light areas of Oxford Street, Illovo and Sandton found fewer than 10 sex workers roaming around in skimpy skirts.
Those who had braved the low temperatures to lure clients dived into bushes whenever the police patrolled.
One sex worker, in her seventh year on the streets, said the tourists were "boring".
"We have not had any luck. I usually make R4 500 a month. I was hoping I would cash in R15 000, but it has been quiet."
Another sex worker, known as Natalie, also said the tourists were "boring", adding "It's disappointing".
She had been approached by some Mexican tourists, who would have given her $500 for the night - but when she arrived at the hotel in Sandton, security refused her entry.
"The securities have been making our lives hard. They say they don't want girls in their hotels."
Her friend Nicole said she'd had a good time with an American. The two, aged between 22 and 24, are from Bez Valley and have walked the Oxford Street strip for about two years.
They were still hopeful that business would pick up.
If a white man approached them and looked like he had money, they could charge up to R500 for a "full house".
A metered cab driver said that while he had requests at the beginning of the tournament to get "girls", when he brought the girls to the men, they could not agree on a price, and the girls left.
He'd had requests from Argentinians, Americans, Mexicans and Brazilians.
"They say they're being ripped off.