25 December 2015

Zimbabwe: Activists Says Sex Workers Key in the Fight Against Aids, Government Should Legalise the Sector

Government ought to legalise sex work in the country as the sector is key in the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS, says African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA).

For long, Zimbabwe was rounding up women, charging them with loitering for the purposes of prostitution but that changed after the Constitutional Court out-lawed their arrest early this year.

But prostitution remains illegal.

In an interview with Newzimbabwe.com, ASWA spokesperson, Daughtue Ogutu, said while sex work was illegal in Zimbabwe, the sector was important in the fight against the spread of HIV.

"Sex workers in Zimbabwe are looked down upon and, as a result, it has been very difficult for them to come out in the open and share their experiences.

"They (sex workers) are also at risk of HIV infection and this has an impact on the general population and from our engagement with them they say they are prepared to work openly for as long as things are changed positively," said Ogutu.

He added: "These include discrimination, changes in the laws of the country that affect sex workers, that even makes them fear to go to hospitals, fear to go and get tested for even fear to say who they are."

Ogutu said the holding of the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Harare early this month gave them a great opportunity to engage with the government and ask them to include sex workers in the strategic plan but there was still more to be done.

"There is a lot that is preventing sex workers from accessing HIV services in public hospitals. A conversation ought to happen, recognising them (sex workers) and that will be a great start.

"It is also time for local sex workers to come out in the open and speak bout police abuse and all forms of discrimination they are facing" said Ogutu.

In May this year, the Constitutional Court outlawed the arrest of women on charges of soliciting for sex in the absence of men confirming they were offered the services for a fee.

African Sex Workers Alliance says it lobbying for sex work issues to be fully integrated into global funding.


'South Africa Would Suffer the Effects of Zimbabwe's Implosion' - Tendai Biti

Former Zimbabwean finance minister Tendai Biti has on Thursday warned South Africans not to distance themselves from the… Read more »

Copyright © 2015 New Zimbabwe. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.