2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

"You Can't Criminalize Poverty!": The Sex Industry in South Africa and a Call for Its Decriminalization
Adam D. Conway
Dr. Elaine McDuff, Faculty Mentor

With the FIFA World Cup rapidly approaching, South Africa is abuzz with issues of commerce and security, including sex tourism and the legalization of the sex industry. Despite seemingly common sense claims that the criminalization of sex work protects public morality, curbs the exploitation of women, and reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STIs, research indicates that these assumptions are counterfactual. An examination of the economic and social position of women in South Africa and of the role of dominant masculinity in the transmission of STIs reveals the moral and health imperatives to decriminalize sex work in South Africa. Instead, public concern and resources should be put towards implementing programs that challenge hostile sexism, that educate men about sexual health, and that provide better economic outlets for women.

Keywords: Legalization of Sex Work, HIV/AIDS, Hostile Sexism, Exploitation of Women, Masculinity, Condom Usage

Topic(s):Democracy and Human Rights in South Africa
Women's and Gender Studies
Sociology/Anthropology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 56-1
Location: MG 1090
Time: 2:45

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