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An investigation into higher education students' perceptions of the sex tourism industry in the Western Cape with specific reference to an FET college
Dixon, Franchesca Lorraine
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The potential for the sex tourism industry to become legalised in South Africa with the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup is an issue which has raised much controversy and is now at the top of the agenda for debate within government, the business sector and civil society. The study investigates perceptions of students at a Further Education & Training College towards the sex tourism industry, together with selected components of that industry. The study is undertaken to better understand student's perceptions of the sex tourism industry. In order to achieve this, the researcher set out to better understand the sex tourism industry as a whole; as well as to investigate selected socio-cultural impacts that the sex tourism industry can have upon society in order to explore the positive and negative impacts that sex tourism can have upon the youth. In terms of South African legislation, prostitution is illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957, and the study examines current calls for the sex tourism industry to be legalised or decriminalised in light ofthe forthcoming 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. The study further examines life orientation for learners and sex education for sex workers. Life orientation is examined as it may have an effect on students' perceptions towards the sex tourism industry. The training of tourism and hospitality staff is seen as a vehicle for combating one of the components ofthe sex tourism industry, namely, child sex tourism and, thus, it is necessary to examine a number ofits other components. The study briefly touches on life orientation, as a key element in ensuring that learners become competent members of society, and as a tool which assists in providing them with essential life skills. Sex education is seen as necessary for both learners and sex workers in order to enable them to comprehend their rights and choices in life. For the purposes ofthe empirical study, the researcher makes use of first year tourism students at an FET College to gain insight into a student's perspective of the sex tourism industry. The iv researcher makes use of students in order to obtain a varied perspective as the students hail from different walks oflife and have diverse views and opinions. Entry into prostitution comes as a result of one or more of a number of contributing factors such as poverty and human trafficking. The contributing factors are researched and are explained in the literature review. The need to conduct the study emanates from the fact that the sex industry forms a large part of the tourism industry and it is a growing industry in South Africa. The research focuses on two areas: the students' perceptions of the sex tourism industry and the social impacts that the sex tourism industry can have upon society. The research methodology includes a literature search followed by the data collection for the empirical survey. The data collection procedure is explained in detail in the relevant chapter. A combination of the qualitative and quantitative approaches are followed for the· empirical survey. Such an approach is also known as a ''triangulative approach". The empirical survey together with the ensuing statistical analysis are conducted in collaboration with the CPUT registered statistician. The responses to the questionnaire are statistically analysed by the statistician, after which the results are described and interpreted by the researcher. The study finds that the majority of students do not want the sex tourism industry to become legalised and perceive the sex industry as immoral. The social impacts of the sex tourism industry can be harmful to society and the study found that the majority ofstudents understood the impact the industry can have and the role that education plays in reducing a few ofthese selected impacts. Finally, a set ofrecommendations and a number ofconcluding remarks are made. A comprehensive bibliography is included.