Sex work and the 2010 FIFA World Cup: time for public health imperatives to prevailReport as inadecuate

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Globalization and Health

, 6:1

First Online: 11 February 2010Received: 03 December 2009Accepted: 11 February 2010DOI: 10.1186-1744-8603-6-1

Cite this article as: Richter, M.L., Chersich, M.F., Scorgie, F. et al. Global Health 2010 6: 1. doi:10.1186-1744-8603-6-1


BackgroundSex work is receiving increased attention in southern Africa. In the context of South Africa-s intense preparation for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, anxiety over HIV transmission in the context of sex work has sparked debate on the most appropriate legal response to this industry.

DiscussionDrawing on existing literature, the authors highlight the increased vulnerability of sex workers in the context of the HIV pandemic in southern Africa. They argue that laws that criminalise sex work not only compound sex workers- individual risk for HIV, but also compromise broader public health goals. International sporting events are thought to increase demand for paid sex and, particularly in countries with hyper-endemic HIV such as South Africa, likely to foster increased HIV transmission through unprotected sex.

SummaryThe 2010 FIFA World Cup presents a strategic opportunity for South Africa to respond to the challenges that the sex industry poses in a strategic and rights-based manner. Public health goals and growing evidence on HIV prevention suggest that sex work is best approached in a context where it is decriminalised and where sex workers are empowered. In short, the authors argue for a moratorium on the enforcement of laws that persecute and victimise sex workers during the World Cup period.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1744-8603-6-1 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Marlise L Richter - Matthew F Chersich - Fiona Scorgie - Stanley Luchters - Marleen Temmerman - Richard Steen


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