Sex is cheaper in Gaborone

Gaborone has the lowest prices for commercial sex PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Gaborone has the lowest prices for commercial sex PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

Sex is commonly thought of as a private, intimate event that occurs behind closed doors. Normally, people think making love is personal and part of a romantic experience. On television and in the movies, the sexual act is preceded by candlelight and fragrant incense, hot bubble bath and sparkling champagne.

The hard truth is that sex is, for many, a business and in Gaborone, that business is booming. The capital city, according to a recently released report, accounts for a large number of the estimated 4,000 female sex workers and 800 male sex workers known by researchers.

And sex sold in Gaborone is the cheapest countrywide.

This is all well and good, but viewing the sexual act as a private mind-body event can obscure important truths about its deep nature and meaning. Soft whispers and passionate kisses tell a story of sex, but not the whole story and not always the most interesting or important part of it.

Even though prostitution is illegal in the country, it is evident that selling sex is one of the booming businesses in the country.

According to the Ministry of Health’s Biological Surveillance Survey Research II (BBSS) of HIV/STI the prices of sex have increased sharply since 2012 when the first survey was conducted.

The report shows that in 2017, a round of sex in Gaborone costs P187 from P97 in 2012. In Francistown the same round cost P267 from P85 in 2012.

According to the study, Palapye female sex workers sell rounds at an average of P272 while in Maun prices are higher reaching P354. Chobe is the most expensive at P435, a dramatic increase from 2012 when it was sold at P89.

The average overall amount per sex act recorded in all the mentioned areas is P298, three times higher than in 2012  (P94) with Chobe being the highest and Gaborone the lowest.

According to the study, female sex workers in Gaborone were the busiest countrywide, with an average of six customers per week, compared to four in Maun and three in Palapye.

Government employees are the major customers of female sex workers countrywide, accounting for 18% of total customers, followed by mineworkers at 16%.

Businesspeople are in on the act as well, while truck drivers are prolific in towns such as Maun and Kasane.

When asked about the nationality of their last clients, 87% of female sex workers said Motswana, with five percent Zimbabwean and four percent Zambians.

The report shows that female sex workers have built strong clientele as their regular clients generally keep going back for their services.

Nearly 70% of sex workers reported that in the last week of the survey, their repeat, regular customers had visited.

As stunning and revealing as the results are, researchers cautioned that one chief weakness was self-reporting, where participants could, conceivably, answer in a way that they feel protects their dignity.


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