LEGISLATORS have tasked the Economic Justice Women’s Project (EJWP) to urgently facilitate an engagement meeting with the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)Godwin Matanga to iron out rising reports of sexual abuse being perpetrated by police officers on sex workers.
This follows experiences shared by sex workers during a Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus meeting in Harare, Wednesday.
One sex worker from Hopley (name withheld) said it has become the norm for police officers to raid their workplaces demanding free sex.
“We are finding it difficult to work because police officers raid our work bases and present us with an option to give them free sex or risk arrest. One may end up giving the officers free sex because she may not have the money to pay the fine or bribe the officers,” she said.
Another sex worker who identified herself as Getty decried the insatiable appetite for free sex by police officers saying sometimes in just one night, one can be approached by three officers soliciting for free sex.
A documentary premiered by EJWP at the event highlighted similar experiences by sex workers in other parts of the country.
Rattled by the horrendous experiences, MDC legislator for Matabeleland North, Sibusisiwe Buddha, who is also the deputy chair of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus, tasked EJWP to engage the police chief.
“There is an urgent need to facilitate a meeting with the police chief and provide a platform where these sex workers can come and share their horrendous experiences with the authorities. This is a form of work which must be respected.
“We expect police officers to protect all citizens, sex workers included but instead of playing the constitutionally mandated role, we are receiving reports of those charged with the duty to protect being in the forefront of abuse,” she said.
Other legislators present at the meeting said it was time Zimbabwe came out clean on the exact position of sex work and lay out the parameters under which one can be arrested.
EJWP also shared findings indicating vast challenges experienced by young women in the informal sector from mining, vending, small scale farming among other sectors signifying serious bottlenecks inhibiting the sector from realising its full potential