By Robert Tapfumaneyi
Gweru sex workers have followed the current business trend through demanding payment of their sexual services in the United States dollar as the local bond note continues to lose value every day.
The city has about 5 000 registered sex workers.
Speaking in separate interviews with NewZimbabwe.com during a recent media tour of Midlands, sponsored by the National Aids Council (NAC), the sex workers said most of their needs were now pegged in foreign currency, hence their switch to the much sought after US dollar.
Among some of their needs are accommodation and medical services.
“Early this year,” said one 19-year-old Sekai, “We agreed as sex workers to accept payment only in United States dollars in all our services because the bond note is now useless.
“We used to be paid in bond notes and then go to the parallel market to buy the dollar but we have seen that this is not working at all.”
Twenty year-old Mavis, another sex worker said “we can’t continue to work at a loss”.
“So it’s now between US$5 and US$10 for a short time (quickie) and up to $40 for the whole night.”
Mavis said the homes they were booking into to entertain clients were now demanding foreign currency payments.
“Our landlords want their rents in foreign currency and those who want our services should also be prepared to pay in the same currency.
“We don’t just sell sex to buy bread and mealie meal but to send our children to school as well.”
In an effort to empower the sex workers, the National Aids Council and CeSHAAR have introduced economic strengthening training programmes which offer soft loans to the ladies so that they venture into other income generating projects.
The programme is targeting girls and women aged between 15 and 24 and those that are part of it are empowered on safe sex negotiating skills, family planning and HIV testing and counselling free.