Our work is not only underpinned by the Sister’s lived experiences, but also by research that focuses on prostitution and human trafficking. This research shows us that in situations where gender inequality and extreme poverty exist, it is false to assume that people involved in prostitution are exercising free choice and agency.
Below are a range of resources that may be of interest to you.
In 2003, an international study on prostitution was conducted by *Melissa Farley, along with other researchers in South Africa. The study found high levels of homelessness (73%), physical and sexual violence (69%), and sexual/physical abuse during childhood (56–66%) among local respondents participating in the study, with 89% expressing a desire to exit, yet citing no other option for economic survival. These findings were corroborated in Farley’s 2010 poll conducted on the streets of Cape Town with over 100 prostituted women. Farley’s research was a key motivation in the establishment of the former Masiphakameni, which means let us rise in isiXhosa and was renamed ARISE in 2015.
In 2011, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Knowledge Co-Op facilitated collaborative research between Embrace Dignity and the UCT Psychology Department. The student research projects considered prostitution and exit strategies for prostituted women, with a special emphasis on the South African context. The research drew on the experiences of prostituted women to deepen our understanding of the links between poverty, violence and gender as drivers of prostitution and explored the complexities of exit strategies in South Africa. Read about the research outcomes here.
You can learn from our partner organisations both locally and internationally: