Recently an act of courage was witnessed in Chivhu where formally ladies of the night publicly left their former work and pursue new forms of income generation. Sixteen commercial s_x workers in Chivhu on Saturday announced that they had quit the world’s oldest profession and formed a business association to transform their lives.
The s_x workers publicly announced that they had stopped prost_tuting during the official launch of the national diabetes outreach program at Madamombe Clinic in Chikomba.
Addressing delegates and villagers at the launch, the s_x workers said they had since formed the Chivhu Women’s Hand Association, which is aimed at encouraging other s_x workers to quit the s_x trade, which they said was no longer profitable.
Chairperson of the Chivhu Women’s Hand Association Jesca Masinda said they decided to quit the profession after realizing that they had been subjecting themselves to unnecessary ab_se by men.
“It took courage for us to declare publicly that we have decided to quit prost_tution. We discovered that we have lost more than we have gained from selling s_x. In our community, prost_tution is immoral, but the economic hardships pushed us into selling s_x. We have no savings acquired from prost_tution but some of us have instead contracted HIV, broke ties with families among other things, due to the practice,” Masinda said.
Another s_x worker, who only identified herself as Mellisa, said the COVID-19 pandemic helped them realize that they could earn a living using other means than s_x work.
“We had difficulties in trying to fend for ourselves during the early days of the lockdown because we were staying at home. It was difficult for us to meet up with clients at brothels and truck inns. We later encouraged each other to venture into other income-generating businesses such as plaiting hair, vending, and others depending on one’s area of specialization,” Mellisa said.
She added that the s_x workers were socially-marginalized hence they needed counseling and spiritual support from experts for them to fit into the community.
Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro said the s_x workers’ decision to quit the trade was vital in reducing the spread of HIV and Aids and other s_xually transmitted infections in Zimbabwe.
He urged authorities in Chikomba to provide the necessary support to the former s_x workers to help them achieve their goal of starting a new life.
Chief Chivese said stopping prost_tution was a restoration of humanity in the community and advised the s_x workers to play a leading role in changing community attitude towards them.
Debra Tshuma Foundation, a humanitarian organization, donated 100 kilograms of dried kapenta to kickstart the women’s project. The organization will also provide funding for various projects the former sex workers would want to engage in.