SIXTEEN commercial se_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 se_x workers publicly announced that they had stopped pr0stituting during the official launch of the national diabetes outreach programme at Madamombe Clinic in Chikomba.
Addressing delegates and villagers at the launch, the se_x workers said they had since formed the Chivhu Women’s Hand Association, which is aimed at encouraging other se_x workers to quit the se_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 pr0stitution. We discovered that we have lost more than we have gained from selling se_x. In our community, pr0stitution is immoral, but the economic hardships pushed us into selling se_x. We have no savings acquired from pr0stitution but some of us have instead contracted HIV, broke ties with families among other things, due to the practice,” Masinda said.
Another se_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 se_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 se_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 se_x workers’ decision to quit the trade was vital in reducing the spread of HIV and Aids and other se_xually transmitted infections in Zimbabwe.
He urged authorities in Chikomba to provide the necessary support to the former se_x workers to help them achieve their goal in starting a new life.
Chief Chivese said stopping pr0stitution was a restoration of humanity in the community and advised the se_x workers to play a leading role in changing community attitude towards them.
Debra Tshuma Foundation, a humanitarian organisation, donated 100 kilogrammes of dried kapenta to kickstart the women’s project. The organisation will also provide funding for various projects the former se_x workers would want to engage in.