Zimbabwe

Criminals Target Harare Thigh Vendors

SAMANTHA GARWE aged 27 sits on a pavement in one of the streets of Harare; head bowed sobbing finding solace in the arms of colleagues.

A sight that on-lookers could not escape, Garwe who was wearing a short dress which had done diligence in exposing her glistening legs, left many men drooling.

She could not fathom what had happened to her, a night of toil in the streets of Harare had turned out to be the ones whose jaws she had escaped from.

As the winter sun sets in Harare, Garwe has a mixed feelings of her fortunes in the biting cold winter that is characterising Harare.

Being a weekday, and the weather counting to her disadvantage, Garwe was hoping lady charm could smile at her.

“I was approached by a man who was driving a Honda Fit car. I thought he was one of the clients who generously threw money at us for a good time,” said Garwe.

Garwe found herself in the car looking forward to servicing her client who had offered much ‘envied night’.

In their street language, a night refers to an offer for one to enjoy sexual privileges for a period that overlaps into the morning of the next day.

With it comes a higher return for female sex workers, a thought that buoyed Garwe to take up the offer of that unknown man.

“Well he told me that he would take me to a lodge along Samora Machel Avenue. It became strange to me when we passed the lodge.

“Something was off about where we were going. When I asked him where going he raised his voice and I could not escape as the doors were locked.

“We went to a strange place along Bulawayo Road where he parked and demanded the money I had made for my short time before raping me and leaving me there,” Garwe said as she fought back tears.

Garwe, who lives in the high density of Budiriro, leaves behind a two year old daughter and two siblings whose confidence had been placed on her for survival.

It is this background and responsibility that drove Garwe into the night life in the streets of Harare.

According to latest statistics, a staggering 2.7 million Zimbabweans of the working group are currently unemployed.

This has driven women like Garwe into commercial s€x work to eke out a living and escape vagaries of unemployment which has been worsened by economic rot.

Zimbabwe Statistics agency (ZIMSTA) end of 2022 recorded that 59.6 percent of women were are unemployed with the majority resorting to commercial s€x work as a profession.

According to an organisation that works towards an end to AIDS, AIDSFONDS around 63 percent of commercial s€x workers in Zimbabwe have experienced physical, economic and emotional violence.

Another commercial s€x worker Cathrine Chakodzwa, said violence against their trade has been escalating.

“This has become normal to us. Men come here to offer us money for a good time but with hidden agendas. Some have escaped death from some violent men who pick us here,” said Chakodzwa.

New Zimbabwe

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