By Sharen Thumboo The Chatsworth community speaks to Sharen Thumboo about sex work in the area in this extract from a feature published in the latest edition of the feminist quarterly Agenda Recently, a number of media reports have drawn attention to the increasing number of sex workers in Chatsworth, many of whom are very young.If anything, issues around sex work in the area are very complex, with different kinds of people involved in the industry for different reasons.Community members offer diverse opinions, though most express very conservative views, and label sex work as "pathetic and disgusting" and attribute it to the decline of moral values.However, many mention economic imperatives as a primary reason for women in the community turning to sex work.Ted Leggett, a researcher at the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), has conducted extensive research on sex work in Durban and its surrounding areas.Leggett distinguishes three types of sex workers: women who work for drugs; those who work for subsistence; and indoor sex workers (who work for a salary).He said: "There are women who stand on street corners and there are women who will have sex with anyone for drugs, but don't consider themselves prostitutes.
I think there are as many reasons for doing prostitution as there are women doing it." Janice, who is unemployed, felt that prostitution was corrupting the Chatsworth community."Prostitution is pathetic and disgusting, it demoralises our women and our community.Parents need to teach their children good values and beliefs.Right now in Chatsworth, there is too much crime; these women will just worsen the community." She was very critical of both sex workers and their clients: "I think these women do not fear God; if they did they would not sell their bodies to so many different men.The men should be equally blamed for the situation.