By Petronilla Mukamuri
GOVERNMENT has been urged to legalize the oldest known profession, prostitution as a response to responding the HIV and Aids.
Chairperson for Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN) Talent Jumo, speaking during the World AIDS Day celebrations Jumo called on government to recorgnise sex work as a legal profession.
“Sex workers are being targeted in the treatment, care and support responses, yet they continue to be viewed as criminal. To our policy makers we continue to appeal to you so that sex work is decriminalised in this country, because sex work continues to be a criminal offence, it remains difficult to ensure the policy on responding to HIV and Aids benefits the sex workers fully, “said Jumo.
The Health ministry working through the National Aids Council (NAC) is looking to close the taps on new infections, with Jumo saying legalizing prostitution will help achieve just that.
Jumo said because prostitution was illegal many sex workers were forced underground operating from shadows where they don’t access critical drugs or protection.
Police have also been accused of abusing sex workers whom they rape or even demand bribes from in return for protection.
“I have colleagues, sex workers who are in Epworth, sometimes they are exploited by the police who will say if u don’t want me to arrest you, have sex with me,” said Jumo.
She added that the police will even say that they will not use condoms as a basis to lessen the charges.
Jumo is appealing to policy makers to look at such issues as they are important issues which help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.