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    Friday, 13 May 2016

    Parliamentarians meet Ngundu sex workers


    NGUNDU -
    Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care who were on a tour of the province last week stopped at Ngudu and held a meeting with commercial sex workers at the thriving business centre.
    The sex workers pleaded with the Parliamentarians to enact laws that protect them and also protect their rights.
    The meeting was held through an organisation set up by the sex workers to represent their interests called Sex Workers Advocacy Group (SWAG).
    The meeting was also attended by National Aids Council Provincial Coordinator, Evos Makoni.
    Makoni told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that Ngundu was an epicentre of STIs as it is along the Highway (Masvingo to Beitbridge) and that it recorded 163 STI cases during the first quarter of 2016 alone.
    "Ngundu has become the epicentre of STIs, since it is the spot from which all the routes to major cities such as Bulawayo Harare, Chipinge and Mutare meet. Several truck drivers from neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Botswana and South Africa put up at the spot.
    "These truck drivers inevitably constitute the majority of the clientele for commercial sex workers at the business centre.
    "We therefore appeal to the Ministry of Health and Child Care to establish an overnight clinic here so that the truck drivers in transit get tested and treated even during the night to avert the increase in new HIV/Aids infections," Makoni said.
    The sex workers said that they wanted laws that protect them from clients who abuse them. They said that there were clients who ran away without paying leaving them with just "soiled pants".
    "But we are not into this because of our on making. The economy is in the doldrums and this is the reason many of us are here. We are doing this to fend for our parents and children," said the sex workers.
    The establishment of SWAG was initiated by Batanai HIV/Aids Support Organisation (BHASO).
    Makoni told the meeting that targeting commercial sex workers could be the robust action in the fight against the HIV/Aids scourge.
     Elizabeth Yeukai Chitsurwi and Erina Chingwa, who are members of SWAG complained to the Parliamentarians that because sex work is shunned, the women were at times refused treatment at clinics.
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