Washington: As soccer fans gear up for the biggest football extravaganza of the year, prostitutes too are flocking to South Africa ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
With the World Cup slated to kick off in June, prostitutes are eyeing good money as an estimated 500,000 football fans visit South Africa.
Many sex workers from Zimbabwe are leaving for South Africa, triggering calls from human rights and church groups to impose checks on human trafficking and prostitution.
However, prostitutes arriving in South Africa are optimistic about their future.
"If ever there was time to make money, this is the right time," Christian Science Monitor quoted Shuvai, a Zimbabwean commercial sex worker working at Maxime Hotel in Johannesburg, as saying.
Shuvai, 22, says she arrived in Johannesburg at the end of March with eight other prostitutes from Zimbabwe.
Cyril Mwamba, 32, travelled over 1,700 miles from Zambia's Ndola Copperbelt to reach the World Cup.
She said: "When we came here [Summit Hotel], we were not so sure whether we would be able to attract rich and well-paying men since back home in Zambia men were looking down upon us."
Saying that she now earned Rs 2,000 (about 270 dollars) per night, Mwamba added: "I am convinced that after the World Cup, I will be able to buy my own car.
"Cars are cheap here in South Africa."
Several hotel workers have also noticed the recent influx of prostitutes.
A hotel general manager, who declined to be identified, said: "From the look of the fully booked hotels around Johannesburg and Pretoria, we think these female sex workers could exceed 40,000.
"There are some from outside Africa from as far as China, Pakistan, India, Hong Kong, and Venezuela, who are here for prostitution."
First Published: Friday, May 14, 2010, 16:06