Ruth Butaumocho and Tawanda Marwizi
More than 100 commercial sex workers in Hopley, Harare, yesterday got a lifeline when philanthropist and Chivi Rural District Council chairperson Dr Killer Zivhu pledged to assist them to start several income- generating projects.
He promised to assist them to start horticultural projects, fund some of their cross-border initiatives and secure them jobs on some of the country’s ongoing major projects.
Dr Zivhu said it was important for the sex workers to reform so that they would properly manage the projects that were in the offing.
Addressing the sex workers after listening to the problems they were facing, Dr Zivhu said he would engage the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Joram Gumbo to have some of the ladies of the night employed in the Harare-Chirundu highway project.
“Listening to what you have been saying, I have since realised that you are in this (sex work) not because that is exactly what you really want to do, but I believe it is out of desperation,” he said.
“However, there are better and decent ways of eking out a living than what you are doing, and we would want to assist you. It is important for you to reform and become women of dignity who can contribute meaningfully to the development of Zimbabwe.”
Dr Zivhu encouraged the sex workers to come up with three major categories to ensure that everyone would be embraced in the income-generating projects.
“We will group you into three categories. The first one will have those living positively with HIV to engage in farming horticultural produce,” he said.
“The second group will have women who are young and fit to get an opportunity to work in the Harare-Chirundu Highway project that will soon commence, while the last group who have passports will engage in cross-border initiatives.”
Those with passports will get loans to travel to different countries buying and selling goods, under the Killer Zivhu Trust Fund.
Dr Zivhu called on the commercial sex workers to vote for President Mugabe in the forthcoming presidential elections.
“We want us to work together to better your lives, and it is within the same vein where I am also urging you to vote for President Mugabe in the forthcoming election,” he said.
“He is a tried and tested leader who has diligently served this country. We need your vote.”
During the meeting, the commercial sex workers aired their grievances which included gang-rape, failure to get early treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and economic difficulties’ that were forcing them to solicit for clients.