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She said she could not meet her, but directed Janet to a hotel in the city where she could get a job.

The hotel's bar was populated by women in skimpy clothing, but Janet did not immediately grasp the situation.

Even with the necessary documents, their chances of finding other work are slim.

"Most say they want to move out [of the hotels], that they know they're being exploited and would leave if they could," Nakin explained.

"But they can't find work and they're stigmatised for what they do." Funding from South Africa's Department of Health enabled her to set up the centre last year to provide women with more options.

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He was convicted of four counts of rape and one on possession of pornographic material."I thought, let me just get out of this place before I get too used to it." She had stayed away from the drugs that keep many women locked into prostitution and moved out of the hotel in July, and started working at the centre as a peer educator five months later.Janet and 10 other former sex workers now visit the hotels to talk to the women about opportunities at the centre, hand out condoms and encourage them to go to the nearby Esselen Street Clinic for HIV counselling and testing."I had never done that kind of work before," said the shy 23-year-old."It was my first time." According to Khopotso Nakin, director of the New Life Centre for Girls, an NGO, Janet's story is far from unusual: of the estimated 10,000 commercial sex workers in Hillbrow, a rough inner-city neighbourhood where many hotels double as brothels, 20 percent come from other parts of Africa.