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Zimbabwe's Cash Crisis Hits Zimbabwe -- Thigh Vendors Now Charging $1 For Short Time

The cash crisis Zimbabwe continues to struggle with is adversely impacting the se_x industry with hookers forced to slash charges to as...

The cash crisis Zimbabwe continues to struggle with is adversely impacting the se_x industry with hookers forced to slash charges to as little as a dollar for a quick session.

Zimbabweans are being forced to spend hours on end trying to withdraw money from local banks, a problem that appears to have defied what little wits the country’s monetary authorities claim to have.

Many locals complain that they spend as much as five hours in bank queues only end up getting $100 or much less which is barely enough to cover basics such as rentals and utility bills.

se_x workers in Harare’s red-light zones say the crisis has meant their services – to them one of life’s basics – are now a luxury few can afford.

The problem has seen charges plummet to as little as a dollar for a ‘quickie’ in the capital’s Avenues area. Ordinarily the rate is between five and ten dollars.
Zimbabwe's Cash Crisis Hits Zimbabwe -- Thigh Vendors Now Charging $1 For Short Time
“It’s better to have 5 quickie se_xual sessions and take home $5 than to spend the whole night standing on the touchline in this cold weather.

“But we only start charging a dollar for a session after 1am,” said one se_x worker who only wanted to be referred to as Paidamoyo.

‘Touchline’ is industry lingo for the streets the se_x workers line-up in the Avenues area soliciting for business.

The central bank says the cash crisis is, in part, caused by a cultural problem where people needlessly prefer to carry and transact in cash.

Bank authorities are urging the use of other payment systems such as mobile money platforms and swiping with credit and debit cards.

However, se_x workers have yet to carry around point of sale machines in addition to their condom-laden purses. Again, mobile money platforms which were once a hit in the industry are no longer preferred by clients.

One se_x worker identifying herself as Paida told that clients no longer wanted to use mobile money platforms because they come with transaction records.

Titha, her colleague on the ‘touchline’, insisted that their services are still vital to society, claiming that most married women were failing to satisfy their husbands.

“Why would men still come for us otherwise? Some married women take their husband for granted so we make up for the mischief.

“But cash shortages have adversely affected our work as some men prefer to buy for their families after failing to withdraw cash from the banks rather than enjoy the se_x,” she said.

The se_x workers also said that they have formed groups where they speak about se_xual and reproductive health as well as share information about survival tactics in the industry.

“We now meet here and there under Katswe Sistahood and talk about how best one can survive in this industry.

“Katswe Sistahood has brought us together and gone are the days when one will be infected by se_xual transmitted infections and we also empower the ones young joining the trade,” said Titha.

A landmark Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling two years ago outlawed the arrest of women loitering for purposes of prostitution, meaning se_x workers no longer need to ply their trade hiding behind trees and under the cover of darkness or engage in running battles with bribe seeking police officers.

The ruling has seen thousands of mostly young women join the industry in a country were formal unemployment is said to be more than 90 percent.

Prostitution remains illegal. But with little prospect of anyone reporting to the police about being approached or having approached the alleged se_x workers, the crime is hard to prove.

“The crime of prostitution is so difficult to detect, that is why police used to arrest and detain women for loitering,” a Harare lawyer told a local daily.

“Now that aspect was dealt with in terms of the law, women are seen around the CBD allegedly selling se_x without deterrence or abuse from the police.”

NGOs however, say that criminalisation of prostitution is unhelpful.

Criminalisation of se_x work contributes to a situation where violence against se_x workers is accepted, leaving them less likely to be protected from it,” said a director with a local NGO.

“These ladies are often reluctant to report gender-based violence to the police. Even when they do report, their claims are swept under the carpet.”

Source: New Zimbabwe