BY TALENT GUMPO
Southern Eye last week published an article on sex workers, who exhibited at the international trade showcase, a development that drew criticism from the Bulawayo community.
Former Bulawayo deputy mayor, Amen Mpofu yesterday castigated the trade fair company for allowing sex workers to exhibit, saying it was a sign that “we have completely lost ubuntu”.
“I am still trying to get an answer why this so-called new dispensation allowed the sex workers to exhibit at the ZITF. These people do their trade at night and in dark corners. For [President Emmerson] Mnangagwa’s government to allow this shows that we have completely lost our values as a nation,” he said.
“ZITF is a place for showing trades that add value to the country in terms of investing, so what value did the sex workers display? Did it not come to their mind the implications it will cause to the girlchild, because I think it is our duty as parents to protect our children from seeing such things.”
Former Bulawayo South Member of Parliament, David Coltart took to Twitter, where he lambasted ZITF for lowering its standards through allowing ladies of the night to show case.
“Sex workers show off work at ZITF. Is this what we have been reduced to in Zimbabwe? ZITF used to showcase our great manufacturing companies — now it exhibits prostitution, soldiers and Zanu PF,” he tweeted.
In response on Twitter, the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) said they used the platform to educate society on the challenges faced by sex workers.
“As an organisation defending minority rights, we are using this platform to educate society on the day-to-day challenges faced by sex workers in the work that they do. Sex work, as an industry, has potential to contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Sex work has a lot of potential in contributing to the GDP, case in point Amsterdam. Think logically and see that most striving world economies are in fact benefiting from legalising sex work,” SRC tweeted.
The sexual rights group argued that they are advocating for the recognition of prostitution as work, as many use this trade to feed, clothe and house their families in a country that sits at almost 90% unemployment rate.
Contacted for comment, ZITF marketing and public relations manager, Stella Nkomo asked for questions to be sent on email.
The questions were sent early morning yesterday, and yet by the time of going to print last night, she had not responded.