By Kudakwashe Pembere
SHAMVA South Legislator Hon Joseph Mapiki says government could benefit immensely from sex work if proper measures are put in place to avail basic health and daily needs in their profession.
He said this during a SafAids Key Populations workshop on Friday where he recommended other Parliamentarians and attendants to put their emotions aside and map a way forward to address challenges facing Key populations so as to tap into the sector in the form of taxes.
“I think the advocates here are being emotional, when discussing about law making let’s lay out procedures because its not every country that shares the same problems as ours.
“There is Thailand which sat down with its people to permit sex work but they have procedures they follow to progress the nation. In this instance, sex workers for instance should be prepared to see Government benefiting as well in the form of tax should your trade be decriminalized,” said Mapiki.
MP Dr Ruth Labode argued that there are some issues which are necessary for emotions to be used for in some cases has yielded results.
“I just want to share something about advocacy. I for one cannot be a champion for something unless it is emotional affecting me. If it is emotional, it has no boundary for me. That is me. I know people are different, we approach things differently. But as we move issues for KP, issues of self-abortion, all emotions will come out. I just wanted to share with you something.
“We went to…Katswe organized for us to go to Seychelles, me in particular. Because Sadc was going to have their first parliament, women’s parliament, we noticed on the appeal of self-abortion, on the sidelines had they have not used their emotions in that women’s parliament there were emotions. Those who were anti were emotional, some of us who were pro were also emotional. Those who were sponsoring told us that because the presentations about what was happening with the girls a resolution was passed. If you sit down in parliament and you say eeh sex work, sex work aah!!!
Speaking at the event, a Katswe representative urged Government to fully decriminalize sex work as some law enforcement agents are still seeing demanding sex and money from sex workers.
A Zimbabwe Aids Network official Chiratidzo Mariwo said they felt user fees need to be scrapped away for they are still beyond the reach of many patients especially the key populations comprising of sex workers, prisoners and drug users.
“Removal of user fees in the health sector. We are appealing to our MPs. We are facing a lot of challenges. Most our key populations and our patients are failing to raise user fees. I was in Mhangura sometime at a certain institution where consultation is $3 but if you want to be treated for STIs you have to pay $20.
“So where do key pops or sex workers or an ordinary patient where can they get that money for treatment. And people end up just going back and what happens, the health deteriorates, if the person is a sex worker they will continue with their work, or may if she uses the condom the better. She needs to live because she has to pay for rent, her children’s school fees and food,” she said.