12/17/2010 10:09 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

South African 'Taxi Queen' Girls Swap Sex For Rides To School

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- In some of the roughest neighborhoods of Cape Town, as minivan taxis line up to pick up kids and take them to school in the morning, drivers or their assistants routinely select a pretty school girl -- some as young as 12 years old -- who would be their "queen" for the day.

She'll sit in the passenger seat, act as eye candy and be in charge of the stereo, which is widely considered to be a high-status gig.

Once declared taxi queen material, the girl is allowed to ride the minibus for free, saving the equivalent of about $1 a day, not an insignificant amount of money for children from impoverished urban neighborhoods. The girls may feel indebted, which is about the point where the problems with seemingly mutually beneficial "transactional relationships" begin to unfold.

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