Why Prostitution Should Not be Decriminalized


by MARGE BALLIN - Inter Outreach Ministries

This report has been put together by Marge Ballin, the director of Inter Outreach Ministries that works with prostitutes in Cape Town. She has worked with them for over twenty years altogether. Following are the details of the project that she is involved in.

Inter Outreach Ministries is a registered NGO that received their non-profit organisation number in 1997. The number is: 009.203 We are an Inter denominational ministry, which ascribes to Christian principles. Our mission is to provide social, educational and spiritual upliftment to women and children caught in destructive lifestyles, i.e. prostitution and trafficking. Providing rehabilitation through teaching them life skills and job skills that will eventually help them to be integrated back into society as well-adjusted people. Inter Outreach Ministries was first established in 1991.This work of specifically reaching out to the prostitutes was started in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1996.

Those that are benefiting from our work are prostitutes in all areas.
· Street prostitutes
· Escort Agency prostitutes
· High class prostitutes
· Child prostitutes (we prefer to refer to them as sexually exploited
· Trafficked woman and children

Project purpose:
To provide a bridge for those who want to come out of prostitution. And to provide the necessary assistance to enable them to do so. Services delivered: · A half way house. · Counselling. · Courses on emotional restoration and support groups to help them to work through their life-controlling issues and other life skills training. · Aids education. · Skills training.


Research findings show that most prostitutes are from broken dysfunctional homes and a large percentage of them (at least 80%) were victims of rape and incest early in life. The specific reasons for their involvement in prostitution are varied. Economic pressures top the list. Some prostitutes are addicted to drugs or alcohol and prostitution is the way they support their addiction. Others suffer from emotional frustrations; a husband or lover has deserted them, or their homes are dysfunctional or they are rebelling against their parents. Worldwide, extreme poverty is the single greatest cause. Prostitution scars a woman's character so deeply, and creates such a gap between her and normal society that few women ever manage to get out of it.

INTER OUTREACH MINISTRIES has found in spending time with the women we work with, that there is a lot of emotional damage done to their lives. Very often they share with us in tears and are extremely traumatized by some of the experiences they have been through, sometimes even with the clients. Of not being paid and left to walk long distances after being dropped off. Some have been abused and even raped by clients, some by their pimps. We know of a number of cases in South Africa as it happens in other countries, of prostitutes being murdered. Another problem we have frequently come across is prostitutes robbing their clients without providing them with any sexual service. Sometimes these clients want to retaliate with violence and we have had to inform the police. We have been involved with prostitutes and pimps who were in legal cases of this nature, of robbery and violence, or have counselled those involved in these practices.

1 in 5 people between the age of 15 - 49 have AIDS in South Africa. Most adult deaths are AIDS related in South Africa (Headlines -Cape Times Newspaper August 2001)

There has been an increase of the problem of prostitution in South Africa in the last 15 years, since the new Democratic Government came into power. Unless these problems are addressed, there could be an increase in the AIDS epidemic, which is predicted to claim millions of lives. It is estimated statistically, that 70% (see article details below) of the prostitutes are HIV positive. According to Doctors for Life, a group of 1300 Christian Medical professionals, prostitutes and their clients are high-risk population for HIV/AIDS or of sexually transmitted diseases. This will have very serious ramifications on the economy of this Nation In an article called "Prostitutes don't care about safe sex as long as the money rolls in" By Cascarino Valintine and Reginald Nkholise. I quote: "The male & female prostitutes who ply their trade in this ghetto (Hillbrow) sometimes cynically refer to what they do as "the death warrant". If they know that (according to reasearch by the Commission for Gender Equality) 70% of the sex workers in Hillbrow are HIV positive or have full-blown AIDS, they simply don't care. October 10/11 1998 - I'm not sure what newspaper but it was probably the Cape Argus.

Also: THE LOVE POTION THAT CAN KILL - Adele Baleta reports: This article is on "dry sex" where the women were inserting aphrodisiacs, antiseptics and other agents like traditional African remedies into their bodies to dry out their vaginas, in an attempt to pleasure their male partners. But health researchers fear that as the AIDS epidemic ravages the African continent, "dry sex" may contribute substantially to the increased risk of acquiring AIDS and transmitting the disease. In her research, Neetha Maror, of the Medical research Council found that dry sex was prevalent among sex workers in Kwazulu Natal. At least 80% of a group of 150 sex workers who plied their trade at truck stops in the Natal Midlands practice "hot tight and dry" sex. In interviews with the women, mainly uneducated single mothers, between ages 15 to 45, from lower income groups, Ms Norar learnt they used dry sex to give men " more sexual pleasure" and because they wanted to be "hot and tasty" for the men during sexual intercourse. They also wanted to make sure that their clients kept coming back to them because of the income generated. If they did not practice it the men would not be satisfied and they would not be paid. Informal traders in Durban sold a variety of products specifically for dry sex, she said excessive drying may lead to tears and abrasions during sexual intercourse, increasing the risk of infection between women and their sexual partners. Condoms are at a greater risk of breaking, or coming off. Ms Norar said that more than half of the sex workers were HIV positive and fewer than one in four, who had an average of four to five partners a day, used condoms. She said the study had taken two years because it had taken time to gain the women's confidence and to make them feel comfortable to talk about such intimate details. I personally know of a prostitute who is HIV positive in East London, who is still working as a prostitute. She is the friend of an ex-prostitute that I know who has become a Christian and I'm sure there are many, many more.


The other party involved with prostitution is the procurer. He comes in various forms: pimp, recruiter, brothel owner, and operator of a massage parlor, topless bar, or adult movie theater. These people, usually men, organize the market professionally. In many cases they are involved in the larger world of crime. They make big money, but they keep almost all the prostitutes wages, and they use a variety of coercive methods to keep the women working for them. Procurers are as clever as they are cruel. Their most common method of keeping the prostitute in bondage is to get women into financial debt to them and then force them to repay it through prostitution. For example, if they can get a girl hooked on drugs they can force her into prostitution to support her habit. Most prostitutes are in financial debt to their procurers, and they use the debt-weapon against them. Through violence, threats and isolation from anyone that might help them, prostitutes are reduced to the point of having lost all self-esteem, even personal identity. Their procurers are their masters, and they are their slaves.


IT WILL ESCALATE IN SOUTH AFRICA IF WE DECRIMINILIZE PROSTITUTION Sexual slavery is an International business and an International problem. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) has uncovered the existence of a number of International networks and crime syndicates involved in buying and transporting women and children for sexual exploitation. In other words, sexual slavery is conducted in an International scale. According to the report, trafficking in thousands of women and children flows from Latin America to Puerto Rico, to Southern Europe and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Another flows from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Central and Northern Europe. There is a regional European market, supplied in part by Latin America and exporting French women to Luxembourg and the Federal Republic of Germany. Another supplies some of the richer countries of West Africa from Europe, and the regional market exists in the Arab countries. Russian crime syndicates are also very much involved in trafficking women and children now. India, Nepal, and Africa. Hardly any country is free from International traffic in women, and even under-age girls are moved from one country to another for sexual exploitation. Those brought into these countries under false pretences by their procurers who bought their plane tickets and got them into other countries through illegal immigration procedures or fraudulent marriages become simply merchandise in the sex market. They are in debt because of their plane tickets. They are then exploited in every way, often brutalized, and sometimes killed. If the police raid the places where they work and arrest them, their procurers quickly move them to some other City before their cases are investigated or brought to trail. Hardly ever are the women sentenced or deported. Nor do they ever get out of debt or sexual slavery.


One of the main factors that are extremely disturbing, is the factor of child prostitution (sexual exploitation of children), which is very much on the increase Internationally and even here in South Africa. Some in SA are as young as nine years of age. (In India they are as young as four or five. Will this be happening here soon) Research into this area has uncovered the fact that a number of children are being trafficked into South Africa from either the poor rural areas, where the pimps promise the parents to give the children education and jobs, or various African States and forced into prostitution. There have been a number of articles in the paper on this. Police here and immigration are clamping down on thousands of foreign prostitutes, mainly from Asia and Eastern Europe, and their bosses that keep them as virtual slaves in sleazy sex clubs. Most of them are illegal immigrants who have come into South Africa on tourist visas and stay after they expire, then work as prostitutes. They have come from Thailand, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Zambia, Angola, Congo, Mozambique, Kenya and other Nations. This is why this problem very much needs to be addressed.

INTER OUTREACH MINISTRIES has worked with very young girls on the street, who have sometimes come into our drop-in Centre. In 1998 we managed to take a fourteen-year-old prostitute off the street and she is now in a trade school in Wellington. Her stepfather sexually abused this girl and her mother wouldn't believe her and beat her if she mentioned it. She eventually set the house on fire, killing both parents. (This was later verified in the Cape Town ARGUS Newspaper)

For further information there are two good researched reports done on these subjects by an Organization in Cape Town Called MOLO SONGOLOLO their titles: 1. The Trafficking of Women into South African sex industry 2. The Trafficking of children for purposes of sexual exploitation-South Africa

CHILD TRAFFICKING A CRIME, THIS WILL INCREASE IF LAWS ARE CHANGED TERRE DES HOMMES, an International Organization fighting against Child trafficking has information on their last news letter that ICACT (The International Campaign Against Child Trafficking) are demanding:

· Protocol to Prevent, suppress and punish trafficking of persons, especially women and children supplementing the "United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime" of the Office for Drug Control and Crime prevention.(ODCCP)and the International Criminal Court Statute (ICC) · The Statute of the ICC (International Criminal Court) provided that "The trafficking of children (committed in a context of a widespread or a systematic attack directly against a civilian population) must be considered a crime against humanity which states have a duty to prevent and punish"

INTER OUTREACH MINISTRIES has had experience of working with young girls that could very definitely have been trafficked as they were from the Congo and other African States and could hardly speak ant English. We also had a situation of a group of women coming to us for assistance who were brought in from Nigeria and told they would be given jobs. They were taken to a brothel in Sea Point and told to prostitute. They came for help to a Church across the road from the Brothel and were taken to the ARK, a Christian shelter at Faure in Cape Town. We also want to remind the reader of the case with Van Rooyen when four young South African girls went missing and were never found again. There have been a number of cases of lost children since then who very possibly could have been abducted and sold into sexually slavery. South Africa has one of the highest cases of sexual abuse in the world; this will definitely escalate if laws become more lenient.


Alongside pimps and brothel owners are the people who publish and sell pornographic literature, videos and films. They are as deeply involved with prostitution as the owners of topless bars. Pornography and prostitution complement and reinforce each other, and it is not by accident that the streets where sex shops are located are generally the places where prostitution is the heaviest. Although pornography is accepted in the constitution of this Country, research has shown that involvement with pornography becomes addictive and causes people to desire to act out what they see.

CONSIDER THE EVIDENCE… (Taken from a document that opposes pornography called S.T.O.P. - Standing together against pornography)

· Child rape
Statistics provided by the SA Police show that reported child rape increased from 3600 in 1992 to almost 15000 in 1996.This increase coincided with the flood on pornography that hit SA in 1992.

· Rape
Worldwide (and in SA) there is hard evidence of rapists, and even murderers, in whose lives pornography has played a major role. A social worker that made a study of rapists in Cape prisons reports that, in some cases, pornography acts as a disinhibiting factor.

AIDS is spreading, "Most adult deaths in SA AIDS related" (headlines in the Cape ARGUS August 21 2001) Pornography promotes promiscuity - promiscuity promotes AIDS.

· 250,000 subscribers paid for access to a host of child pornography Website. Police say the busted Internet smut ring was earning $1.4 million a month in revenues. (TIME Magazine August 2001) · Recent decades have seen an explosion in pornography. It's big business, grossing $10 billion in the United States alone. · Child porn is progressively worsening (Newsweek Magazine 19 March 2000) "In the beginning it was photos of nude children…but progressively, I began to discover tortures" One Internet site "was peddling a tape to American suspects in which a molester was depicted…beating up a child." In "snuff" movies the child is molested and then killed. These videos are then sold to "sick" pedophiles. Porn contributes to illicit sex and child porn to sex with children. The effect on society will only worsen with each generation unless we work to stop it now.

INTER OUTREACH MINISTRIES has counselled a number of victims of rape. In our support groups we come across numerous rape cases as well at the drop in Centre. We took one young girl to a safe house, for her protection during the court case, as her perpetrators threatened her life if she would testify against them for the rape.

Recently it was heard that the Unicity Council plans to endorse the promotion of Cape Town as a sex-tourist destination of Africa. Organized Sex tourism is practiced on a large scale in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Europe and parts of Africa. One of the main attractions of sex tourism is the availability of young children. Sex magazines sold throughout Europe and America advertise to pedophiles the availability of young boys, and very young girls, in the large Cities of Southeast Asia and Africa. The demand for prostitutes, "the younger the better", keeps growing, fueled by advertising, the media, pornography and sex tourism.

Young people, especially girls travelling alone, are favourite targets of certain procurers who use seduction, guile and trickery to obtain human merchandise. Sometimes they use force, and simply kidnap their victims. Young tourists suddenly out of money, are offered money or temporary lodging, or transportation or for finding a job. Promises of exciting art tours, film auditions, and free trips abroad are among the ruses used. All of these lead eventually to houses of prostitution, beatings, gang rape, threats and sexual enslavement. Bus stations, airports, and train depots are places where procurers are likely to be on the prowl for naïve young travelers. They sell these naïve young women to pimps for $500 to $1,200.The women work that back for their captors in the first month, after which the pimps rake off all their income. (February 1998 TIME Magazine) Two 19 year olds, Marina and Tanya from Bulgaria became entangled with Tzvetomir Beltchev, a five-time Bulgarian wrestling champion who, with his mother and around 20 Bulgarian body guards, has since been accused of running some 50 prostitutes in several brothels in the Teplice region. One place the women were kept was surrounded by a chain link fence and three lines of barbed wire. "We called it a prison camp," says Major Vaclav Kubec, a Police supervisor who helped co-ordinate a raid on the Beltchev brothels in October. Police arrested Beltchev's mother, cousin and five bodyguards in the raid on charges of illegal weapons possession, pimping and organized criminal activity; Beltchev himself escaped and is now a fugitive. He has an INTERPOL warrant for his arrest. All 44 women arrested at the time were released after questioning, some recounting tales of being beaten with baseball bats and kicked in the stomach if they did not earn enough money.

(The writer of this article Marge Ballin, was picked up when she was eighteen (i n 1968) by a procurer in Cape Town when she was travelling with two friends and offered a job. Then, after their suitcases were taken from them, they were d taken to a Brothel and left there. They managed to escape after a week).

We so often hear the cry for human rights these days in South Africa; yet the worldwide commerce of women and children into forced prostitution is a dreadful exploitation and an ugly blemish on human society. What about their rights? Prostitution is not a "necessary evil", or excused because it is "the oldest profession", rather it is the most degrading activity against womanhood, and forced prostitution is definitely a human rights issue! Is this what we want to see happening in this Country?

INTER OUTREACH MINISTRIES has often counselled prostitutes and young girls who were abused by physical violence and rape, but also in Amsterdam there were similar cases. Therefor decriminalizing prostitution does not change these situations; in fact prostitution often encourages abuse just by its very nature. Men are inclined to disrespect women practicing prostitution and cases of abuse and violence are reported wherever it is practiced, word wide.

As often as we hear the demands for human rights issues we are told not to mention the moral issue. Our question is, are human rights issues not also moral issues? We believe they are. We also know that crime is a moral issue. If a society casts off restraint when it comes to morality, behaviour will only escalate into decadence. None of us wants a society where drug abuse, physical abuse and child abuse, deception and crime run rampant We all want a society where it is safe to bring up our children. So let us look at the morality issue and admit it is not morally right to have prostitutes exposing their bodies in public by lifting up their tops or skirts in residential areas where families and children are exposed to it. Or having sex in cars parked next to the roads in front of houses. These things are indecent! (we have seen it in our work) Or throwing used condoms on the pavements (it could even spread AIDS) Will having a Red Light District change that? No! In Amsterdam there are still prostitutes walking on the streets not operating in controlled environments, especially those addicted to heroin. As you know, drug abuse is escalating out of control in South Africa. There is still forced prostitution in Amsterdam, of women brought in from the East Block Nations. (TIME Magazine February 1998, had an article called OF HUMAN BONDAGE - (quote) as the post-communist world of organized crime creeps West, stories of kidnapping, prostitution and even slavery emerge from the front lines) Most of the clients of prostitutes in escort agencies and high-class prostitutes are professional people. Doctors, Lawyers, Attorneys etc. And most of them are married men. That is a moral issue because it is destructive to family life and to relationships in the family. For a married man to have sex with another women is morally wrong, no matter what the anti-moralists say!

By Marge Ballin (Ministry Director)
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Web site: www.interoutreach.org.za

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa info@christianaction.org.za - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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