ZIMBABWE – Sixteen commercial s.e.x workers  have announced that they quit the world’s oldest profession and formed a business association to transform their lives.

Addressing delegates and villagers at the launch, the s.e.x workers said they had since formed the Chivhu Women’s Hand Association, which is aimed at encouraging other sex workers to quit the s.e.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 realising that they had been subjecting themselves to unnecessary abuse by men.

“It took courage for us to declare publicly that we have decided to quit prostitution. We discovered that we have lost more than we have gained from selling s.e.x. In our community, prostitution is immoral, but the economic hardships pushed us into selling s.e.x. We have no savings acquired from prostitution but some of us have instead contracted HIV, broke ties with families among other things, due to the practice,” Masinda said.

Another s.e.x worker, who only identified herself as Mellisa, said the COVID-19 pandemic helped them realise that they could earn a living using other means than s.e.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 specialisation,” Mellisa said.

She added that the s.e.x workers were socially-marginalised hence they needed counselling and spiritual support from experts for them to fit into the community. Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro said the s.e.x workers’ decision to quit the trade was vital in reducing the spread of HIV and Aids and other s.e.xually transmitted infections in Zimbabwe.

He urged authorities in Chikomba to provide the necessary support to the former s.e x workers to help them achieve their goal in starting a new life.

Chief Chivese said stopping prostitution was a restoration of humanity in the community and advised the s.e.x workers to play a leading role in changing community attitude towards them.

 

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