Former Zanu PF cabinet minister Nyasha Chikwinya is advocating for the legalization of sex work in Zimbabwe.
She believes that legalizing this profession could help address the hidden issues and challenges faced by sex workers.
Currently, Zimbabwe is among the 103 countries where sex work is considered illegal by UNAIDS, leaving sex workers vulnerable to various human rights abuses.
Studies show that sex workers often experience violence from law enforcement, clients, and partners, which increases their risk of HIV transmission.
In Zimbabwe, the prevalence of HIV among sex workers is alarmingly high at 42.2%. Additionally, sex workers encounter stigma and a lack of privacy when seeking healthcare.
Chikwinya made her case during a meeting organized by the Economic Justice Women Project (EJWP), urging policymakers to prioritize the concerns of sex workers.
She highlighted that these individuals play a significant role in preventing marriages from falling apart.
“Our country has come a long way with this matter and what I believe is that if we fail to solve a problem the way we wish there should come a time when we accept what is on the ground. Sex work is reality. It is time a push for its legalization commenced. That way we will be able to protect workers in this category from the rampant abuses they are facing. Many here would also admit that these sex workers are playing a very pivotal role in our society by saving several marriages from collapse. Even if we reach that stage there will still be no problem at all because these sex workers are involved in a trade of selling a product which can still be taken back home in its original state,” she said.
Positive Contributions of Sex Workers to Community Development Beatrice Nyamupinga, legislator for Goromonzi West, echoed support for legalization, emphasizing that it’s the best approach to address the challenges surrounding the secrecy of the sex industry. She noted the positive contributions of sex workers in her constituency towards its development.
“Continued reluctance to recognize this suppressed but thriving sector continues to cause a lot of problems. In my Constituency at the ShowGround Area I have about four wards with some 300 people and among them are some sex workers who are contributing meaningfully towards the Constituency’s development. So I believe it is time serious debate is ignited on how this trade can be legalized.”