Zimbabwe’s sex workers risk it all and give Corona the middle finger, go back to the streets

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Zimbabwe’s Sex workers have thrown caution to the wind and went back to the streets to work.

Following weeks of staying at home with no source of income, the sex workers have opted to risk catching the deadly Coronavirus than starve to death. In their dozens, they have defied the country’s lockdown and returned to the streets.

“The majority of the people, including sex workers, are now agitated and hungry and this is what is pushing them to leave their houses,” said Itai Rusike, executive director of the Harare-based Community Working Group on Health, AP reported.

Sex workers in Zimbabwe working at night. (newzimbabwe)

Zimbabwe went on lockdown at the end of March and imposed its coronavirus restrictions leading to streets being deserted and clients running thin amid often-violent enforcement by security forces.

Zimbabwe’s police spokesman Paul Nyathi  “a good number” of sex workers are among the close to 60,000 people arrested since April for violating the lockdown.

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The government has since relaxed the restrictions to allow formal businesses to open, but it hasn’t helped the majority of Zimbabweans who survive on selling goods on the streets, which is still prohibited.

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Harare, Zimbabwe. (circleofblue)

So, in a bid to survive, many street traders are ignoring the regulations and hawking their wares on the roadsides again. Sex workers haven’t been left behind.

It’s, however, not business as normal and many have been forced to change their work timetables to beat coronavirus restrictions.

It makes sense to work in the afternoons only these days. Evenings don’t pay that much anymore. The traffic is higher in the afternoons,” said one sex worker, on the lookout for both clients and police.

A few still prefer working at night, saying that although clients are fewer after dark, so are the police. The cops are also more lenient at night, said one.

Some sex workers and street traders are paying up to $5 a day to police to be allowed to operate without being arrested, according to a recent report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum.

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