Sex workers in income-generating projects

ADMORE MBONDA |  1 month ago | breaking

Sex workers in Epworth are doing income-generating projects as a way of empowering themselves and leaving the oldest profession.

The sex workers have since formed a group, Springs of Life, where they are doing poultry projects in Overspill and are in a process of establishing a bakery.

They said the idea came into being during the Covid-19 pandemic era when they were failing to make ends meet 

Precious Musindo founder of the Springs of Life said they were working with sex workers to improve their way of life 

"We work with sex workers, both male and female, and transgender, and we are doing various income-generating projects to sustain them and their families. Currently, we are doing a poultry project, and we are in the process of establishing a bakery.

"We are also doing what we call Community Lady Monitoring, where we have community health workers who go to hospitals and collect data on sex workers' access to healthcare. We have also managed to have key people (sex workers) friendly rooms in our local clinics for the privacy of treatment of sex workers," she said.

Tendai Magutsa, a sex worker, said she was happy to be part of the team that was doing the poultry project and she was looking forward to leaving the profession.

"We are a group of sex workers and are currently doing a poultry project. We were generating enough money and, at some point and time, we wanted to leave the profession, but we reverted back during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Sex work is because of desperation, and if we get more income-generating projects, we can leave the profession." "These days we are facing difficulties and we end up charging very little money for survival," she said.

Another 22-year-old sex worker who only identified herself as Natasha, said she was happy to be part of the team that was doing income-generating projects.

She said she was facing bullying challenges from her senior counterparts and was relieved with the poultry project as she no longer solicited men.

"I used to encounter various challenges from people who would not want to pay after the services because of my age." Senior sex workers used to bully me, but now I am happy that I can generate some money, "she said.

The National Aids Council district aids coordinator, Mrs. Ethina Samanga said the reason why most women in Epworth engage in sex work is that the population in the satellite area relies on informal businesses.

"The settlement is informal and the people rely on buying and selling, and Epworth is a national hotspot in terms of HIV." We have organisations that are helping sex workers and they are doing income-generating projects to sustain them," she said.