Menu

Brothels

Estimates have placed the annual revenue generated worldwide by prostitution – making money out of sexual intercourse – to be over US$1 billion.1 This may be dwarfed by professional soccer, for example, which generates US$25 billion annually,2 but imagine what it would be like if there were TV rights, and sponsorship ranging from sports goods brands, to alcohol to insurance involved in the prostitution industry? Oh, and one other small factor in the US$24 billion difference – professional soccer is not illegal in a vastly greater proportion of the World.3

It is illegal in South Africa. The Sexual Offences Act 19574 sees to that, and illegalises most things to do with prostitution.

A. Brothel

A brothel is any place used for prostitution, or for persons to visit for the purpose of having unlawful carnal intercourse5 or for any other lewd or indecent purpose.6

  1. It is an offence to keep a brothel. Now, just beware: the Act deems you to be ‘keeping’ a brothel if:7
    • you reside in a brothel, unless you prove that you were ignorant of the character of the house or place;
    • you manage, or assist in the management of any brothel;
    • you knowingly receive the whole or any share of any money taken in a brothel;
    • you are a tenant or occupier of any house or place, and knowingly permit the same to be used as a brothel;
    • you are the owner of any house or place, and let it out (or allow it to be let) with the knowledge that such house or place is to be a brothel;
    • you are found in a brothel, and refuse to disclose the name and identity of the keeper or manager thereof; or
    • your spouse keeps, or resides in or manages or assists in the management of a brothel.8
  2. Any person who is found in a house or place which is being kept or used as a brothel and who, on the request of a police officer:9
    • refuses to furnish his name and address;
    • furnishes a false name or address;
    • refuses to disclose the name or identity of the keeper of the house or place; or
    • refuses to produce any book, receipt, paper, document or thing,

    is guilty of an offence.

B. Procuring and other offences

  1. Any person who:10
    • procures, or attempts to procure any female to have unlawful carnal intercourse with any other person, or in any way assists in bringing about such intercourse;
    • entices any female to a brothel for the purpose of unlawful carnal intercourse, or prostitution;
    • conceals in any house or place any female so enticed;
    • procures, or attempts to procure any female to become a prostitute;
    • procures, or attempts to procure any female to become an inmate of a brothel; or
    • applies, administers to or causes any female to take any drug, intoxicating liquor, matter or thing with intent to stupefy or overpower her so as thereby to enable any person (other than the procurer11) to have unlawful carnal intercourse with such female,

    shall be guilty of an offence.

  2. Any person who takes, or detains any female against her will:12
    • to, or in, any house or place with the intent that she may have sex with any male (whether a particular male or not); or
    • to, or in a brothel,

    shall be guilty of an offence.

  3. It is a criminal offence:
    • to perform, for reward, any act which is likely to enable any person to communicate with any other person; and
    • you reasonably ought to have foreseen the possibility that they may have unlawful carnal intercourse, or commit an act of indecency, for reward.13
  4. If you are the owner or occupier of any house or place (or have, or act, or assist in the management or control thereof) and knowingly permit the use of such house or place for the purpose of any contravention against any provision of this Act, you will be guilty of an offence.14

  5. If you entice or solicit in any public place for immoral purposes, you will be guilty of an offence.15

  6. Any person who wilfully and openly exhibits himself (or herself) in an indecent dress or manner at any door, or window, or within view of any public street or place, or in any place to which the public have access, shall be guilty of an offence.16

  7. If you are 18 or over, and you have sex with any person for reward, you are guilty of a criminal offence.17

  8. If you, commit any act of indecency with another person, for reward, it is also an offence.18

  9. It is an offence to commit any act of indecency with another person in public.19

C. Living on earnings of prostitution

  1. If you knowingly live (wholly, or in part) on the earnings of prostitution, you commit a crime.20

  2. If you in any way, assist in bringing about, or receive any consideration for the commission by any person of any act of indecency with another person, you are also guilty of an offence.21

  1. ‘Prostitution Market Value’. 

  2. www.consumereconomics.anoj.net – ‘What’s the World’s Most Valuable Sport?’ 

  3. Wikipedia – ‘Prostitution’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution

  4. As amended; the latest amendment was effected by Act 32 of 2007. 

  5. Which is intercourse – i.e. sex – otherwise than between husband and wife. 

  6. Section 1 – Definitions. 

  7. Section 3. 

  8. Unless you prove that you were ignorant thereof, or that you live apart from the said spouse, and did not receive the whole or any share of the moneys taken. 

  9. Section 8(2). 

  10. Section 10. 

  11. A ‘procurer’ is not be confused with a ‘prokureur’, by the way. 

  12. Section 12(1). 

  13. Section 12A. 

  14. Section 17. 

  15. Section 19(1). 

  16. Section 19(2). 

  17. Section 20(1A)(a). 

  18. Section 20(1A)(a). 

  19. Section 20(1A)(b). 

  20. Section 20(1)(a). 

  21. Section 20(1)(c).