Three women are suing the North West health department after a nurse allegedly "organised training by a prostitute that would help them join prostitution".
The trio told Sowetan last week that the nurse tried to lure them into the sex trade under the pretext they were to attend a workshop and earn a R500 stipend as peer educators.
The women's lawyer, Kallie Strydom, yesterday sent summons to the department and the nurse for defamation of character and a claim of R60000 for each of the three women.
The department was given seven days to respond.
Boitumelo Mogapi, 21, Boitumelo Masina, 23, and Mmabatho Lepholletsa, 24, all of Ipelegeng near Schweizer-Reneke, allege they were taught how to be prostitutes by a sex worker who ran the workshop sponsored by the department.
But the department has dismissed the claims.
Department spokesman Nthabiseng Makhongoane said the claims were ridiculous.
She said: "HIV-Aids coordinators at sub-district level identify unemployed youth from the community and sex workers who are willing to participate in the programme to be trained as peer educators."