Demographic and Social Factors Influencing Public Opinion on Prostitution: An Exploratory Study in Kwazulu-Natal Province, South Africa
Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal
1 Introduction: The importance of understanding public opinion and the terminology used in the prostitution debate South Africa provides a fascinating setting in which to study attitudes towards prostitution. It has one of the highest crime rates in the world (particularly violent crime), 1 and also one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates 2 -two 'evils' which frequently plague the prostitution industry. South Africa is also a hub of immigration, with hundreds of thousands of nationals from other
... als from other countries crossing the border yearlymany illegally -in search of a better life and employment. 3 The management of these three concerns and their relationship to the regulation of prostitution in South Africa poses unique challenges for policymakers. Luiz and Roets 4 describe prostitution in South Africa as an under-researched area "clouded in myth, extreme prejudice and pietist hypocrisy", about which little is understood. Indeed, public opinion on prostitution has received scant attention from academics and researchers, despite the pressing need for empirical research into these opinions, to inform and make relevant the current debates. This paper aims to begin to fill this gap in the empirical research by examining the attitudes of a snow-balled sample of the general public towards prostitution as a social phenomenon, and the regulation of prostitution as a legal phenomenon. In short, it is an attempt to understand what the man on the Clapham omnibus (or in South Africa, perhaps the woman on the Soweto minibus) thinks about prostitution, and what factors might inform their opinions.