Sex work disturbing Pretoria school

Pretoria – There’s a rampant sex trade flourishing disturbingly close to a Pretoria high school and parents and members of the community have had enough.

Parent and community policing forum member Thesigan Pillay said the school was set on convening a meeting with all concerned in an attempt to get sex workers away from the Pretoria West High School as they were creating a risk for the pupils.

He said he was just one of the many parents concerned about the prevalence of sex workers around the school in Staatsartillerie Road.

“Pretoria West is a great school with outstanding academic performance,” he said, but having sex workers and drug pushers ply their trade alongside the school was undoing the school’s reputation and endangering the pupils.

“When children are not in class, they often stand at the school fence and watch the sex workers in action.

“We are not discriminating against sex work, but it should not be in full view of the pupils,” said Pillay.

The school has called before on both the police and the public to help them get the sex workers to move from their makeshift shelters, and parents have expressed concern that their activities are inappropriate and that they also attract criminals to the area.

Young pupils, some in Grade 8, are being exposed to all sorts of inappropriate acts, including the sex workers lifting their skirts to entice clients.

A security guard at the school confirmed that the women are active in broad daylight when children are at the school.

The area where the women operate borders on the school property and shelters built of plastic sheets and boxes with cushions can be seen.

The situation has become so bad over the years that parts of the school’s fields have been fenced off to ensure that pupils no longer have a clear view of these workers in action. Now boys play soccer on the netball courts rather than adjacent to the fence.

Security guards escort pupils across a bridge at Vom Hagen Street to prevent sex workers, drug dealers and criminals from preying on them. “There are several men and women living next to the stream near Vom Hagen Street who rob people crossing the bridge, while the women are selling their bodies,” said the security guard, who asked not to be named.

There are also serious sanitation problems with the women and their clients using the area alongside the fence as an open toilet.

Several condoms could be seen in the veld just metres from the fence, as well as needles and packets of what seems to be nyaope.

The Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce said it wanted the process of removing the sex workers from the vicinity of the school to be well managed. This would be to ensure their rights were not violated in any way, the organisation said.

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