Poverty Breeds Teenage Prostitution In Zvishavane

By Mark Mhukayesango
Zvishavane, September 28, 2015-A Sedentary mining town of Zvishavane comes alive during the night
where the young sex workers adorn their best to catch the ‘big fish’.
Among their clients are local business men , random men starved of sex
and gold panners.
Gold panners (Amakorokoza) also have fat pockets after an eventful
day, panning gold and to enjoy a moment of pleasure they lure
teenagers for sex.
Teenage sexual work and Sexually Transmitted Diseases have been on the
rise this year, according the National Aids Council (NAC).
With poverty banging hard on their most families here, the easiest
assets to trade for survival is their bodies, although the
consequences may be life threatening.
Zvishavane, a mining town which houses Mimosa and the now defunct
Shabanie Mine has for years been affected by high unemployment levels.
NAC blames the rise in STI cases to the gold panning activities and
poverty were girls of school going age are engaged in sexual
relationships with the nomadic Amakorokoza.
Speaking to Radio VOP, NAC Provincial Coordinator Mambewu Shumba said
there was an influx of sex workers because of gold panners who are
well known for their extravagant lifestyle.
Teenagers on the other hand cannot negotiate safe sex like seasoned
sex workers,a practice that has culminated in many of these sex
workers contracting STIs.
“Zvishavane is the fastest growing town in Zimbabwe due to mining
activities. Hence there is an influx of sex workers in the town every
weekend,” Shumba said.
He said that:” Some of these girls are bused from other towns, hence
the increase in the number of STI cases.”
Some of the girls who are said to have joined humanity’s oldest
profession reportedly come from a university which have since established  a campus in Mashava
Most of the families come from poor backgrounds and to supplement food
and shelter for their families they engage in illicit affairs with
older men and gold panners.
“It is sad to see these girls selling their bodies. Poverty here has
reached alarming levels, hence the easiest route is prostitution.” a
Zvishavane resident said.
Shumba applauded SESHA an HIV based organization which is engaging the
young sex workers in STI treatment and prevention methods.
SESHA, an AIDS based organization that runs a mobile clinic for sex
workers confirmed treating hundreds of teenage girls who migrate to
the mining town for commercial sex work.
“We are currently treating sex workers of various STI cases. STI cases
are on the rise due to migrating sex workers and the higher demand for
sex,” Sesha junior outreach officer Shyline Chatanga said.
There have been reports of the teenage sex workers suffering abuse at
the hands of their clients where they have been gang raped without
“These gold panners are not patient enough to use protection, so we
teach the girls to stay away from such clients,” said Chatanga.
“With the university now operational, we need to step up our efforts
of helping students with information,” she added.
Most of the girls who dropped out of school due to lack of money have
bleak futures.
NAC has also urged Zvishavane town council to provide health
facilities in order to cater for the rising number of STIs among
“Zvishavane town council is the only council department as relies on
Mashava. Health facilities would assist in providing health care for
the sex workers,” Zimbabwe National Family planning provincial manager
Tinashe Nyamiwa told Radio VOP.
The case of Zvishavane has since spiked the rate of STIs in the
Midlands region, with Kwekwe also categorized as an HIV hospot due to
mining activities.
Teenage sex-workers have been on the rise as economic pressures bite
amid unemployment and HIV were child headed families are forced to
make ends meet.