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MDC-T MP Ms Thabitha Khumalo proposes prostitutes workers’ union

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Controversial Bulawayo East House of Assembly Member Ms Thabitha Khumalo says she has mobilised more than 300 prostitutes in Bulawayo with a view to making them join a representative union under which their activities would be legalised.

Ms Khumalo last week said she intends to ensure the prostitutes sign a petition advocating special access to health services. She said the Commercial Sex Workers’ Union is expected to be an affiliate of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

“Yes, I have so far mobilised more than 300 commercial sex workers. I want them to form a union and make them sign a petition that will seek to decriminalise their activities,” she said.

“They are workers, just like you and me. I do not see any harm in them being unionised. I will, therefore, help them join worker representative unions such as the ZCTU so that they get the recognition and services that other workers’ unions in the country are getting.

“This profession is as old as humanity itself, but we bury our heads in the sand and wish it away. We must legalise it because doing so will be the only way to understand it better and will enable us to make effective HIV and Aids interventions.

“The country has been a bit slow in acknowledging the rights of commercial sex workers. I think it is high time we appreciated their existence and give them recognition. In as much as we appreciate that they are drivers of HIV and Aids, we should not be blind to the fact that these people require special access to health services so that we achieve zero stigmatisation, zero HIV infection and zero deaths to AIDS.”

Ms Khumalo expressed concern over the stigmatisation of prostitutes by “institutions that are supposed to protect them”.

She said she hoped to make the dreams of multitudes of prostitutes a reality despite the stiff resistance she was facing.

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