The Truth Isn't Sexy

the truth about buying sex in South Africa

Sex work, human trafficking, child prostitution, violence, organized crime, and HIV/AIDS are all linked.

Report Human Trafficking 0800 555 999


is illegal in South Africa, to buy it or to sell it! Buying sex contributes to human trafficking…

Women, girls and boy are forced to sell themselves against their will as prostitutes. A girl will almost never tell a customer she a victim of human trafficking.

Many girls in the sex trade freely chose to enter prostitution, but then are kept in slave like conditions, unable to ever quit. In South Africa, the majority of “legitimate” brothels, strip clubs and escort services are own by organized crime syndicates and at least use coercion to keep their girls working.


  • Human Trafficking is a large issue in South Africa.
  • Has just surpassed weapons trafficking as the second most lucrative crime in the world.
  • It’s organised. It’s a business. It’s the selling of human beings.
  • It’s supply verses DEMAND.
  • There are not enough women and girls in the world who will willingly prostitute themselves.
  • 80% of Human Trafficking in South Africa is into the sex trade.
Your private choices have global consequences


  • 1000 people died per day in SA from AIDS related deaths in 2008.
  • Estimated 1 in 3 women age 25-29 in SA are currently living with HIV.
  • 90% - 95% of HIV is transmitted through sex.
  • The majority of prostituted girls will forgo wearing a condom for extra cash.

Buyers of sex need to be aware of their odds.

A quote from a brothel owner:

"There are situations where you have to force girls by using rape, abuse or torture. When she begins to fear for her life, she stops resisting and starts working…"

Quotes from victims:

"I wasn’t even permitted to sleep. I could eat, but only if very fast, just for a few minutes. I had no right to sleep. If I decided to go to bed, he would beat me, and throw me out onto the street."

"I wish to forget, but this is impossible. This experience will remain an eternal burden."

A Story

Thandi never planned to become a prostitute. Who does? But, she did need a job. A friend returned from Cape Town and told her a beauty parlor was looking to hire a receptionist. He gave the pretty nineteen year-old the advert in the paper and helped her make the call. On the phone, she is told there’s no experience necessary! With the recommendation from her friend, she’s hired right on the spot!

Thandi’s new employers pay for her bus ticket and promise her a place to live. She packs her small bag, kisses her family goodbye and heads off to her new life in Cape Town with a smile on her face.

When Thandi arrives in Cape Town, she is given a “work” wardrobe and a room in a flat, which she is to share with five other girls. Her first day at work, Thandi is driven with her roommates to her new place of work, a massage parlor. It only takes a matter of minutes for her to realize she’s in a brothel. Many of the girls working there are from foreign nations, China, Eastern Europe and Thailand, and all the girls are all prostitutes.

Thandi will clean and work as a receptionist, but she won’t be paid what she was promised. In addition, she now owes the massage parlor bus fair, money for her new clothes, room and board. She is not allowed to quit or return home until she works off this debt.

The only way to pay this debt and still make enough to survive is to perform sexual favors for the clients. Thandi and the other girls are never left alone, driven to and from work every day and not allowed to have contact with anyone outside of the massage parlor. Thandi considers calling the police, but realizes quickly, the brothel pays several of them to keep quiet. The owner threatens to hurt her family back home if she tries to escape.

But, Thandi is a strong, bright girl and refuses to perform sexual acts as part of her job. Eventually, her owners grow weary of her protests. She is subjected to rape and torture until she finally agrees to sell herself. Then, she’s forcibly addicted to drugs to keep her subservient. In a few short months, this bright student is addicted to ‘tic’, on call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and sleeping with up to thirty men per day. When she is no longer considered fresh, her life of slavery will not end. She will be sold from the upscale massage parlor she works in now, to a pimp and will work the streets.

Your private choices have global consequences
Report It

Suspect a girl is trafficked? Report it to the toll free (from a landline) human trafficking helplines for South Africa. 0-800-555-999 or 08000-RESCU! It’s anonymous.

Learn More

Educate yourself by visiting the links on the left and help us combat human trafficking!