THE Beitbridge municipality has invited commercial sex workers to submit project proposals so that they can get assistance from the local authority and turn away from the world’s oldest profession.
Speaking during a workshop hosted by the Wellness Centre on Monday, Beitbridge town clerk Loud Ramagkapola said the council wanted to assist the women and that the local authority was rolling out a plan to outsource street sweeping.
“We want our municipality to be identified with good turnaround stories from commercial s-e-x workers. They must engage us and we will seek organisations that may partner to help the commercial s-e-x workers and be part of their story when their fortunes have turned for the better,” he said.
Scores of women have descended on Beitbridge to work as commercial s-e-x workers in the busy border town.
With support from Global Fund through the North Star Alliance, Road Wellness Cross Border Project established clinics which target s-e-x workers and long-distance truck drivers at different border posts in the Sadc region.
Beitbridge district medical officer Linos Samhere told the workshop that the HIV infection rate among commercial s-e-x workers had dropped from 50 to 30% on the back of uptake of anti-retroviral drugs and HIV education.
“When someone is taking drugs they cannot infect [another), so the rate of HIV infection goes down. The Wellness Centre has also been giving free STI treatment, which is important in preventing the spread of HIV,” he said.
The s-e-x workers said clients were no longer paying handsomely, while others offered higher premiums for s-e-x without protection.