The economics of sex work and major sporting events: Learning from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa

Jacob Kazungu, Marlise Richter, Stanley Luchters, Matthew F. Chersich, Matthew Quaife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Risk-taking in sex work is related to financial gains from condom-protected and condomless-acts alongside vulnerabilities, including socio-economic factors, which influence the safety of sex workers. Large international sporting events have been shown to significantly impact the economies of host countries, but there is a dearth of studies that examine how major sporting events may affect the economics of sex work and the risks taken by sex workers and clients. This study examines the determinants of the price of commercial sex alongside the price premium for and correlates of, condomless sex before, during and after the 2010 world cup in South Africa. We analysed data from three phases of repeated cross-sectional surveys with sex workers. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression models were fitted to examine the predictors of condomless sex. We also fitted fixed-effect regression models to examine the determinants of the price of commercial sex across each survey phase. Findings suggest that the price of sex was higher during the world cup compared to before and after, whilst the price premium for condomless-sex increased from 36% before the world cup to 40% (p-value<0.001) and 57% (p-value<0.001) during and after the world cup, respectively. Across the survey phases, anal, oral or masturbation sex were more likely to be supplied without a condom compared to vaginal sex. The type of sex was the primary determinant of the price of sex across all phases. We show indicative evidence that the 2010 world cup was associated with an increase in the price of sex and supply of condomless-sex. Although these findings should be interpreted as associations rather than causal relationships, we recommend that countries with substantial sex-worker populations that host major events shouldexplicitly consider the context and structures of sex work, and promote client-focused safe-sex-interventions that explicitly consider the economic pressures faced by sexworkers to provide riskier acts, to minimise health impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100251
JournalSocial Sciences and Humanities Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Condomless sex
  • Economics of sex work
  • Price of sex
  • Price premiums
  • South Africa
  • World Cup


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