‘Prostitution in and of itself is an abuse of a woman’s body.’

What is prostitution?

”It is the use of a woman’s body for sex by a man, he pays money, he does what he wants. The minute you move away from what it really is, you move away from prostitution into the world of ideas. You will feel better; you will have a better time; it is more fun; there is plenty to discuss, but you will be discussing ideas, not prostitution. Prostitution is not an idea. It is the mouth, the vagina, the rectum, penetrated usually by a penis, sometimes hands, sometimes objects, by one man and then another and then another and then another and then another. That’s what it is.”   Taslima Nasreen.


‘We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.’—VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

What drives a woman to prostitution?

Money is overwhelmingly the deciding factor that influences women toward a life of prostitution. Some have a history of sexual abuse while others claim that their own personal sexuality influenced them toward prostitution. Regardless, prostitution is never described as a first choice. It is always a choice made in desperation.

The profession of prostitution is an inherently destructive one. There is no way to sell sex and not do damage to the women who are sold. Making a living selling one’s body can only lead to low self-image, degradation, objectification and feelings of worthlessness.

Do women really enjoy being prostitutes?

The reason women do not desire to be prostitutes is because the profession oversteps the inherent boundary every person has around the right to control of their own body, and to choose who they become physically intimate with. By becoming a prostitute, women are handing over control of their body to their pimp and their johns. Surrendering control of one’s body strips them of power that their human rights entitle them to. It is unnatural and detrimental, resulting in feelings of powerlessness, worthlessness and degradation.

A life of prostitution is a choice for some and an obligation for others. For those who feel safe and comfortable as prostitutes, they have the option of remaining in their profession. But those who want out should always be granted the opportunity to leave. For some, finding a way out is very difficult due to the psychological and financial effects it has on people, which is why there are shelters, rehabs and counseling services available to recovering prostitutes.

Shelters are likely the strongest necessity that recovering prostitutes need, and those who require them usually do so in desperation.

What is the life of a prostitute like?

There are a few women who apparently earn large amounts of money in Prostitution, these women are in an extreme minority. Prostitution is a route into poverty for most women. Even women in legal brothels report having to pay extortionate sums for rent and food. They also pay pimps inside and outside the brothels. They are not free to come and go as they wish. Women in prostitution must continually lie about their lives, their bodies, and their sexual responses. Lying is part of the job definition when the customer asks, “did you enjoy it?” The very edifice of prostitution is built on the lie that “women like it.” Some prostitution survivors have stated that it took them years after leaving prostitution to  acknowledge that prostitution wasn’t a free choice because they had to lie to themselves in order to survive.

‘When a woman remains in an abusive relationship with a partner who batters her, or even when she defends his actions, most people now understand that she is not there  voluntarily. They recognize the conditions under which she acquiesced. Like battered women, women in prostitution may deny their abuse if they are not provided with safety or  meaningful alternatives.’

What is sex trafficking?

It is the illegal business of recruiting, harboring, transporting, obtaining, or providing a person and especially a minor for the purpose of sex.

Everyday  female children are sold to brothels by their father. Everyday   young women  are sold to brothels   by   their boyfriend, husband, neighbor, acquaintance. Everyday poor  girls and women become victims of sex traffickers. I visited brothels. I saw their terrible lives. Many organizations donate money to make prostituted women  free from diseases. ‘Health examinations for women but not for men make no sense from a public health perspective. Women are not protected from HIV contracted from clients. Clients prefer sex without  condoms. HIV test for women is  to make sure they are ‘clean meat’ for clients.’

‘Women in prostitution should not be punished for their own exploitation. The seller of sex should be decriminalized. But governments should not decriminalize pimps, buyers, procurers, brothels or other sex businesses.

Get help

What to do if you are trapped in prostitution:

  • Make up your mind to leave. Leaving can be difficult and even dangerous, but in order to live your life, you have to be free.
  •  You might have had run-in’s with police and you feel threatened by them or even betrayed by corrupt police who handed you back to your pimps. Contact an NGO that specializes in helping prostitutes or a national hotline.

  • Sex trafficking hotline: 0800 222 777
  • Human Trafficking Toll Free Emergency: 0800 222 777
  • Email:
  • Hope for Women South Africa (NGO): Contact Number: 071 183 9201

MOBIEG Helpline:

chat-iconYou can chat to a counsellor on the MOBIEG Helpline to get help. Click on LIVE CHAT.

You may stay anonymous and the service is free.

We are online from Sundays: 18h00-20h00; Mondays -Thursday from 19h00-21h00.

Find your Saviourfriend-of-sinners

We know you are weary. You are tired of this life. Tired of the abuse. Tired of being used. Consider these words “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” These words were spoken by a man who loves you more than you can imagine. He wants to give you life, hope, joy, restoration. Most of all, he wants to shower you with his love. His name is Jesus. Right now, where you are, call out to him. He can save you.

What to do if you know of a young person who is trapped in child prostitution:


Contact the local police a national organization like National Human Trafficking Resource Center (number above) or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and let them know. Tell them all the details you can: if there’s a pimp, drug addiction, etc. whatever the circumstance is. The police may not always be able to do something, but you have to try.

Extracts from article by: Taslima Nasreen, an award-winning writer, physician, secular humanist and human rights activist.                     


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