SOUTH AFRICA

American sex worker on her way to the World Cup: “I’ll make three times what I would normally”

Along with 500,000 football fans, an estimated 40,000 sex workers are expected to arrive in South Africa for World Cup 2010. One of them, who’s traveling from Washington, tells us what she’s expecting from the four week tournament.

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Along with 500,000 football fans, an estimated 40,000 sex workers are expected to arrive in South Africa for World Cup 2010. One of them, who's travelling from Washington, tells us what she's expecting from the four week tournament.

Sex workers are travelling from across the globe, especially Eastern Europe and Zimbabwe, in the hope of finding work at the world's biggest sporting event between 11 June and 11 July. The expected influx is a cause for concern amongst health workers, who fear that a lack of condoms could see the spread of HIV escalate during the tournament.

Not all sex workers making their way to the tournament face the same risks, however. Prostitutes at the top end of the wage-scale see the tournament as both a safe bet for extra money and a networking opportunity for future clients.

"I can make three times what I would normally in South Africa"

Heidi (not her real name) works through a dating service that caters to upscale clients in Washington DC. She’s hoping to work in South Africa for the entirety of the World Cup.

I arrive in Rustenburg on 10 June, two days before the England vs USA game, to which and I will be attending with one of my clients (a British man working in the US). Although I'm travelling alone, he's offered to pay for my flight. When I arrive I'll stay with him.

It's then a different client who's taking care of my return trip. After England vs USA I'll join him in Pietersburg [Polokwane] for France vs Mexico on 17 June.

I've never been afraid to travel with my clients as I've always been treated with the utmost respect and affection. I've formed relationships with some of my clients, despite their marital status. They see me as an accessory to their extravagant lifestyle. The arrangements for sex are always predetermined and I prepare for them in advance. I already know what the nature of my visit will be this time as I have met both of the clients on prior trips.

I'll make three times what I would normally, and it also gives me the chance to meet prospective customers. I'll go to the matches to cheer on the teams of my clients and follow them to the after parties and events. I've been studying the players and teams in an effort to interact when I get there; having the ability to show both excitement and an education can only pay off for me in the end. One of my clients knows the management of one of the teams so I will be introduced to the team. If I meet another individual that shows interest, then I will adjust my travel plans to stay longer."