As many as 40,000 women are expected to arrive in South Africa ahead of the Fifa World Cup to work as prostitutes, the Central Drug Authority said on Thursday.
"Forty-thousand new prostitutes. As if we do not have enough people of our own, we have to import them to ensure our visitors are entertained," CDA deputy chairman David Bayever said in Pretoria at the release of the International Narcotics Control Board's annual report.
Huge inflows in Durban
He said the agency had been warned by the Durban municipality of the possibility of huge inflows.
"Someone informed the Durban municipality. They got wind of it," Bayever said.
Many of the woman were likely to be recruited from eastern Europe.
Youth at risk
Bayever also warned that the extension of school holidays during the World Cup would put children at risk of being lured into sex work.
"Our youth are going to be on holiday. They are going to be targeted to become prostitutes."
The CDA is a statutory body that provides advice to the social development department on drug and substance abuse.
Bayever said substance and drug abuse were intertwined with prostitution. Drugs and alcohol were sometimes used to keep people in sex work.
Drugs and human trafficking
"There's a correlation between drugs and human trafficking," he said.
UN Office on Drugs and Crime national project co-ordinator for trafficking Johan Kruger concurred there was a connection between sex work and substance abuse.
He however refrained from endorsing the estimate of 40,000 women entering the country. "I'm not sure where that comes from."
Extra law enforcement
During the World Cup in Germany In 2006, many had expected human trafficking to increase.
"It actually decreased because of the preparation of law enforcement," said Kruger.
He cautioned against too much focus on the World Cup as drugs and human trafficking had been present in South Africa before the event and would continue long after the tourists had left.
"After 2010, illicit, organised crime will continue."
However, South Africa would face an uphill battle in combating trafficking of both drugs and people. Tackling the problem required co-operation on an international level.
"It's very difficult to combat this crime if is only addressed by one country. - (Sapa, March 2010)