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Report: Estimating the size of the sex worker population in South Africa

Written by Health-e News

Led by the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), this research estimates that there are about 153,000 sex workers operating in South Africa.

SANAC logoAs part of the research, sex workers were interviewed in 12 sites nationwide. Based on sex workers’ interviews and estimates of the number of peers working in the area, researchers estimated that about 153,000 sex workers are active in the country. Of this number,about five percent were estimated to be men and another four percent are transgendered.

Commissioned by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), The research captures both street and brothel-based sex workers, as well as those working out of one adult store and via local internet sites.

Almost a quarter of all sex workers in South Africa operate in Gauteng province, according to the study that adds about 20 percent are located in KwaZulu-Natal province. Almost all other provinces accounted for about 10 percent of the total sex worker population each with the exception of the Northern Cape. The Northern Cape was home to only about four percent of all sex workers nationally.

According to a forward written by SANAC CEO Dr Fareed Abdullah, previously “no concerted effort had ever been made to estimate the total size of the sex worker population in the country.”

“This survey marks a new chapter in South Africa’s response to HIV and AIDS,” he adds.

Download the report: Sex Workers Size Estimation 2013

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Health-e News

Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews