By Robert Tapfumaneyi
A LOBBY group fighting for sexual and reproductive rights says the extended lockdown restrictions and night curfew hours have curtailed their work, as business for them flourishes during the night.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com this week, Nancy Chabuda, a programmes officer with Katswe Sistahood, said the strict curfew restrictions have affected the economic lives of most sex workers.
“Sex workers usually find their clients from bars and sex work itself is their main source of income, so the closure of bars has made sex workers’ lives hard as they are not getting clients, and, therefore, are struggling to make ends meet,” she said.
However, bars and nightclubs are among several businesses that have been ordered to close by the government during the lockdown period, which has been extended to 15 February.
“Some sex workers are trying to work during the day but it is not easy as most of their clients do not want to be seen picking them during the day.
“Because of the lockdown, they cannot go to their usually frontline places to get clients as they are not considered as essential services workers and cannot travel.”
Chabuda added that sex workers also preferred to work away from their residential areas because of the stigma associated with sex work hence they could not do house calls close to home.
“Most do not even want their children to know their line of work and worse off in their local communities and choose to travel to other areas for work. This is also to protect themselves from the society, which looks at them as outcasts, so the lockdown and night to dawn curfew have brought untold suffering to these women.”
The government at the beginning of this month, introduced a strict national lockdown for 30-days before it was extended to end on 15 February in an effort to fight the spread of the second wave of the deadly coronavirus.
Anyone caught breaking the strict lockdown regulations will be arrested and fined up to$5 000.