BY SHARON SIBINDI
A CAMPAIGN to decriminalise sex work was last week launched in Bulawayo with the aim of lobbying policymakers to consider sex as a profession.
The campaign was launched by the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) last week on Wednesday which emphasised that sex workers should speak with one voice in fighting for their rights.
SRC programmes co-ordinator Nombulelo Madonko yesterday told Southern Eye that they want sex work to be decriminalised.
“We are launching the decriminalisation of sex work in Zimbabwe strategy with the Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance. This launch will be held together with sex worker-led organisations to garner support towards crafting of policies to decriminalise their profession,” Madonko said.
“We will lobby other sex workers throughout the country to join the campaign through their provincial co-ordinators,” she said.
Madonko said sex workers would also drum up support from their counterparts in the rural areas.
“We are using the footprint of the provincial co-ordinators to speak to sex workers and capacitate them to ensure that we get their support. We want sex work to be decriminalised because the operating environment is not what it was about 10 years ago.
“We are thankful to the June 2015 Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling that correctly interpreted the law, which was being misused to arrest sex workers. After getting arrested, sex workers were charged for contravening council by-laws with crimes such as loitering and blocking pavements,” she said.
Madonko said the ConCourt ruling allowed sex workers to do their work freely at night on the streets without being arrested.
She said sex workers had encountered several other challenges including being assaulted, murdered by clients, adding that their body parts were being used for ritual purposes.
“I will refer to the most recent case where a sex worker was found dead in a hotel room and had the number 666 inscribed on her stomach. This is not the only case. There are a number of murder cases of sex workers that go unreported, but they come to our attention at SRC.”
She said sex work should be recognised like any other job, adding that sex workers should be respected and allowed to operate freely.