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It is "terrifyingly easy" to find children trapped in prostitution in South Africa, says an American author, Benjamin Skinner, who has researched the problem in this country. He said it was also easy to buy child "sex slaves", some of whom were on offer in South Africa for as little as R45 each. The article was researched during a visit to South Africa, where he spoke to teenage victims and also to some of the "monstrous traffickers" who sold them into sex slavery.
He has now spoken of his experiences when taking part in the SAfm Radio discussion programme, the After Eight Debate, on the issue of human trafficking.
Unless there is aggressive police work to go out and find this population and protect them, they will not be found and will continue to suffer in silence. He said some organisations close to the problem had put the number of child prostitutes in South Africa at about 38 , but the number could be higher. What I could do was go out and find a few and tell their stories. He did some research in Bloemfontein, at the invitation of Pastor Andre Lombard, of the Christian Revival Church, who has been working on a project to help child prostitutes.
Together they interviewed child prostitutes, one of whom, a year-old, was dying in a Bloemfontein hospice. And she died a week later.
That is the end game for these children. Skinner even posed as a potential buyer and spoke to a child trafficker, named only as Jude, a Nigerian. Skinner said two of the sex slaves he interviewed told of how they were duped into coming to the city and then forced to work as prostitutes.