By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
Masvingo – Sex workers have pleaded with government to review curfew hours which are negatively affecting their business.
Lockdown restrictions were reviewed yesterday by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and curfew time remains 06.30am to 18.30pm.
Sex workers who mainly operate during the night have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures. Together with their clients they fear harassment by the police force should they violate the curfew.
In interviews with Bustop TV, the sex workers begged government to set 2200 hours as curfew, so they conduct their business which booms at nighttime.
Since the onset of Covid -19 and the national lockdown that was implemented since last year, sex workers have cried foul and wrote to government begging for consideration under the Covid -19 relief fund like all other workers.
One sex worker speaking on condition of anonymity said, “Mumastreets hamusi kumirika veduwe tatambura isu, 10pm was a bit better than 6.30pm for us. We cannot even do anything, vamwe we eat what we kill hatina amwe mabusiness atinoita, takapinda muindustry umu kubva kare taisaziva kuti pamberi apo zvichaoma kudai. Last week l was beaten after l was found moving around at Farai Beerhall and was told to go back home, but how then can l go back when l need to make money. 10pm taitombongwavha ngwavha wo padzozochaya tetatomboitawo mari. Government should do something to prioritise us as well, will continue making noise till we also benefit from the Covid -19 relief funds.”
Another added, “Covid -19 is there, and it is real but there is nothing we can do, we have to stay safe at the same time and we also need money to make a living. Kusagona kuita amwe mabasa emaoko kwakashata zvokwadi, kugara kumba kogwadza uku apa usina mari, tinotoda kuti tishande kuti tiwane kurarama since we have families to take care off. Curfew time haitomboiti zvayo, vamwe we get clients through standing and frequenting different bars and night clubs, but they are all closed for now. The government must review the curfew time and allow some beerhalls to operate. Shuwa gore rino tinofa nenzara isu, 6.30pm haitomboiti hurumende ngaizvizive izvozvo, the government should come with a viable solution to deal with Covid-19.”
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) and UNAIDS recently released a joint statement calling on countries to take immediate, critical action to protect the health and rights of sex workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.