A facebook page which started out as a social experiment pulled in a following of more than 10000 members in just a week.
Blesserfinder – on social networking pages Facebook and Twitter – promises to hook young, beautiful and unemployed women up with a “sugar daddy” type to spoil them with cash, holidays and shopping sprees.
The rich benefactors are called “blessers” and the receivers “blessees”. Through the pages, would-be blessers send descriptions of themselves, the kind of women they are looking for and how much they are willing to bless them with.
The ad is then placed on the page’s timeline and would-be blessees who fit the description respond.
Ten girls are chosen and provided with the blesser’s phone number so they can initiate a conversation. The founders say anything that happens after that is up to the two parties.
The founders, who only identify themselves as Ditshego, Palesa, Noncedo and Khaya for fear of reprisal from society, say the page was meant as a social experiment.
Spokesman Ditshego said: “This other day I saw a Facebook post where this lady said she had been taken on a trip to Dubai by a rich benefactor. People responded negatively, calling her a prostitute.
“Palesa showed me that post and commented on how judgmental people were being.
“We then decided to start the page as an experiment, just to hear what people thought. We had no idea people would go for it like this or that it would become so big. We have over 10000 members and over 5000 messages of both prospective blessers and blessees.”
According to Ditshego, 30% were men looking for women, 30% were women looking for men with the rest of the numbers going to gays, lesbians and transgenders.
Starting off by hooking up locals in Johannesburg, Blesserfinder has now also reached Zimbambwe, Spain, America and Zambia.
A Blesserfinder app is being launched next week, which Ditshego said would beep to alert a blessee when a blesser was in the vicinity.
“Maybe a girl is out for drinks with a loser and he expects her to pay half the bill. She can tell him to leave, open her app and ask a local blesser to come pay,” he said, emphasising that they were not selling sex.
“We are not pimps because we aren’t getting paid. We don’t deal with sugar daddies either. The oldest person we’ve dealt with was only 39 years old.
“These are just people wanting to spend their money on people. It’s a dating service,” he said.
Despite this, the page uses the hashtag #MoralsMustFall after every post. A Range Rover and a plane are used in a profile picture.
Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) human rights officer Nosipho Vidima said they supported this.
“This shows women realise that they can use their bodies as a means of escaping poverty. If a blesser can take a girl out of a shack and into a house, then more power to her.”
Commission for Gender Equality’s Kerry Oosthuysen was of a different opinion, saying such websites were unregulated and could be used as a platform for human trafficking.
“Moreover, it can exploit minor girls which is direct a contravention of the sexual offences act.”
Buffalo City College student Siyasanga Nondabuli said it was good as young unemployed girls also deserved nice things, while Vuyokazi Lihlekani said: “There is no love in this world anyway. Men use women for sex all the time but at least this time you know he is using you for sex but you are also getting something in return.”