Sexuality Research & Social Policy

, 4:106

Navigating risk: Lessons from the dockside sex trade for reducing violence in South Africa’s prostitution industry

Other Article

DOI: 10.1525/srsp.2007.4.4.106

Cite this article as:
Trotter, H. Sex Res Soc Policy (2007) 4: 106. doi:10.1525/srsp.2007.4.4.106


The diversity of South Africa’s prostitution industry exposes sex workers to varying levels of violence. The street, truck stop, hotel, agency, brothel, and dockside trades are characterized by different structural features that determine the prevalence of client, police, and third-party abuse against prostitutes. Comparing the structural elements of each sector allows not only gauging the likelihood of violence within a given niche but also devising more precise policy instruments to reduce violence at an industry-wide level. This article focuses on the dockside prostitution sector, showing how its structural features enhance the women’s power vis-à-vis their clients and discussing 5 key variables that influence the likelihood of violence: the social and legal status of the client, the location of the negotiation, the location of the sexual act, the level of discretion in the solicitation process, and the role of third-party involvement. Detailed policy recommendations conclude the argument.

Key words

sex workersprostitutessailorsclientsabuse

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History DepartmentYale UniversityNew Haven