Masvingo – A group of commercial sex workers from Ngundu Business Center in Chivi which is a thriving places for illicit sex left the country for South Africa recently where they spent a week on an exchange programme with their counterparts in that country.
Batanai HIV and Aids Service Organisation (BHASO) field officer for Chivi District, Kumbirai Mahaso confirmed the trip to Pretoria and said that it was intended to see the sex workers sharing information with their counterparts in South Africa.
Mahaso told The Mirror that the sex workers shared information on HIV and Aids, sexual reproductive rights, how they do advocacy platforms and their problems with the law particularly the arrests they face from the Police.
The trip was sponsored by SAFAIDS and organised by South Africa’s Centre for Positive Care.
Critical to the trip were their rights as workers and they concluded their workshop by writing important messages to the members of the public.
A total of 10 sex workers left the country by road on …..and they joined 30 others from different parts of South Africa. Ngundu has a Sex Work Advocacy Group that has 31 members.
The workshop was held under the theme; Give me a voice and I will do it myself which meant that educate me on my rights and supply me with the right information and I will stand up for myself.
In South Africa, the sex workers went on field visits during the night where they saw sex workers in that country at work. They also managed to come across mobile night clinics where various services including testing for various diseases are done on both the sex workers and their clients.
In Zimbabwe night clinics are already operating in Gutu and these are sponsored by Medicines Sans Frontier (MSF).
Also included in the programme were people of transgenda and drug addicts.
Notable features about the South African sex work are that the girls operate from either the roads at night or from brothels. In the brothels, they pay R400 per session and the brothels are safer than the roads because in the brothels they are not arrested by the Police.
Mahaso said Ngundu was chosen for this exchange programme because it is estimated to have about 114 sex workers who get most of their business from truck drivers who ply the road between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Ngundu is 100km away from Masvingo along Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway.
Ngundu also has one of the highest rates of STI in the country. – Masvingo Mirror