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Engage sex workers to stop new HIV infections - UNFPA
Radio Harare (CORAH)
December 07, 2012
The fight against
new HIV infections will never be won if government does not engage
commercial sex workers in its HIV and AIDS programming, the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has advised.
about three zeros in the fight against HIV and AIDS and this can
never be attained without engaging commercial sex workers; that
can never happen. If the President has advisors and they do not
advise him accordingly by telling him this, I tell you this will
never happen,' Samson Chidiya a programmes officer with the
UNFPA told a gathering attending a dialogue meeting organised by
Women Resource Centre Network (ZWRCN) and Katswe
Sistahood in Harare discussing gender based violence in the
streets on Monday.
The three zeros
which the UNFPA worker refers to are 'Zero new infections,
Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS related deaths,' a theme which
Zimbabwe has adopted in its HIV and AIDS management.
One of the commercial
sex workers at the meeting said the police are the major culprits
in abusing them.
'The police arrest
us indiscriminately without even being convinced that we have committed
any offence. If they find us even coming out of night clubs they
arrest us, but we think this is an abuse on our part because we
have the right of movement in this country,' she said.
Guest at the meeting,
MDC-T legislator Thabitha Khumalo said she is willing to distribute
condoms to sex workers as her contribution to the elimination of
new HIV and AIDS infections, before expressing disappointment over
government's reluctance to engage sex workers.
The police have
launched several operations such as 'Chipo chiroorwa' and 'Dyira
bonus yako kumba' targeting women found in the streets at night.
defenders and women organisations always complain about the criminalisation
of sex work, and the indiscriminate arrests of women found walking
in streets at night by the police saying they are meant to extort
and abuse the venerable group.
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