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'Street kids' turn to prostitution

by Staff Reporter
17 Aug 2014 at 11:45hrs | Views
GWERU - During the afternoon Elina (not real name) ekes out a living as a beggar, but at night she puts on her best attire, perfume, spots a trendy hairstyle, good enough to attract the high and mighty.

Those who see her during the day can easily be reduced to tears.

But for Elina - during the wee hours - it is a time that she is at her attractive best.

The 18-year-old is among the many girls who have been forced into the world's oldest profession because of economic hardships.

In the Midlands capital of Gweru, most girls who live on the streets have turned to sex work because of the escalating economic challenges bedevilling the country.

After suffering repeated abuse from relatives and boys on the streets who took turns to rape her, Elina decided to become the master of her own destiny by indulging in sex work.

Even though prostitution is not an easy profession, the burden of taking care of her young sister, also presents a serious challenge to the orphan.

"Begging does not bring much, so desperation drove me into  this," she said with a muffled voice.

Elina and her friends  frequent the most popular night clubs in Gweru.

The young rookies have not found the going easy as experienced sex workers allegedly bully them.

The young sex worker is quick to admit that the profession is very risky.

"I don't like doing this. Some of the men are unkind, some don't even want to pay. I don't like their insults, it's not fair," the high school drop out says, adding that; "I want to complete my studies and become a better person in life."

Her close friends who have since given birth on the streets are also facing the same predicament as they have to own up to the dilemma of going back to their abusive families or stay on the streets.

Some who prefer to be reintegrated into the family set up say they fear they will be stigmatised for having lived on the streets.

"I want to take care of my three-year-old son which I know my family will not do," Gina, a 21-year-old sex worker said.

Gina shed tears as she narrated how her uncle threw her out of the house after her parents passed on.

Sex work seems to be the easy way out for most of them.

While girls are into sex work, their male counterparts are notorious robbers who pounce on unsuspecting residents.

The Gweru city council is in the process of clearing the bushy area that links the central business district and Athlone suburb to curtail the area that these robbers were using to pounce on unsuspecting residents.

Last month two ‘‘street kids'' were arraigned before the Magistrates Court after they were accused of attacking a 38-year-old woman whom they robbed and raped twice.

Source - Daily News

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