The role played by government towards the sex industry: a case of Ngundu, Zimbabwe
Commercial sex work (CSW) is a phenomenon present in most societies. It has received condemnation; regarded as illegal, a taboo and unacceptable whereas in other societies it is legal and regulated by government. The practice of CSW has constantly been regarded as a problem for the society based on the assumption that sex workers are key players in the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). On moral grounds the practice is prohibited. In most studies about sex work, male counterparts receive little attention, but they play a role in the industry as well. They are always invisible in cases of sex work yet they are the ones paying for sexual services. This studyexamines the role played by government and private sector in working with sex workers. A feminist standpoint theory was adopted as a theoretical underpinning of the study. Methodologically, the study followed a qualitative research path involving the use of interviews as data collection methods. A total of nine participants were interviewed, consisting six female sex workers and three key informants. Findings from the data have proved that sex workers receive stigma from institutions that provide services to the general populace. Sex workers are not aware of the services and service providers that are responsible for rendering services in the area. Findings further show that sex workers do not disclose their work status when accessing services from institutions. Recommendations from the study are that the government must shape policies that are responsive to the nature of poverty in the country because poverty is somehow gendered (or feminised). The government should acknowledge that the practice exists in the country and start partnering with the private sector in order to set up services that are responsive to the needs of sex workers.
Keywords: Commercial sex work, Non-Governmental Organisation, community mobilisation, Culture and morality