Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Women of Durban's Dockside Sex Industry

In the chapter, The Women of Durban's Dockside Sex Industry, Henry Trotter looks at the lives of dockside sex workers who solicit at a nightclub catering to foreign sailors. He considers their experiences as sex workers and how they deal with stigmatization, family concerns, chemical abuse, moral dilemmas, diseases, and violence. He assesses their fears/frustration and their dreams/longings for what they hope to achieve through this work. One set of conclusions Henry offers is that dockside women are relatively empowered compared to their streetwalking & brothel-working counterparts. Hailing from upcountry locales, they successfully live "double lives" that protect them from family and communal reprisals. Their clients—foreign transients—pose no threat to their identities (ie. they have no social power outside the dockside world). Soliciting from a safe nightclub, they retain the right to refuse men they don't like. And because they're the knowledgeable locals in the transaction, they choose the location of sex, greatly enhancing their power to insist on condom-use.

Trotter, Henry. 'The Women of Durban's Dockside Sex Industry', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 441-452.