Over 50 sex workers from the country’s hotspots converged at Lilongwe Hotel for two days where they formed a nationwide sex workers alliance and elected a national working committee.
Although sex work is illegal in the country, human rights lawyer Chrispin Sibande said since the Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to association and opinion, the sex workers have not broken any law by forming an alliance.
During the elections, Lorreta Mkulichi was elected chairperson seconded by Annesi Linje. Esther Chimbewa and Mphatso Chibwe were elected secretary and vice respectively while Zinenani Majawa and Chipo Mitawa will publicise the association.
Talimba Pasadi was elected purse keeper while the rest of the committee members are Waeko Mphande, Christina Chisunkha, Anozenje Kamanga, Zione Chikako, Wezi Gondwe and Lucy Kumwenda.
Speaking during the event, UNFPA’s Humphreys Shumba, whose organisation is funding the project, noted that it is suicidal for the country to ignore sex workers in the Aids fight.
He observed that since sex workers bear the burden of the HIV problem, it is only logical tht interventions ought to centre on them.
Shumba noted that the national prevalence rate of 10 percent pales remarkably when compared to the 70 percent prevalence rate among sex workers.
“We are the most affected group hence the need for us to be coordinated. We need to come together to address the problem within our grouping,” Shumba said as he addressed the sex workers.
He added that, first and foremost, sex workers are human beings and their choice of profession does not relegate them to second class citizens.
“First and foremost, we are human beings. We are born with enshrined rights which are engraved in you and they do not change due to one’s status or occupation.”
The sex workers have been drawn from across the country under several organisations that take a lead in fighting HIV among vulnerable groups. These organisations are Pakachere Institute for Health and Development, Foundation for Community Support Services (Focus), Family Planning Association of Malawi (FIPAM), Nkhotakota Aids Support Organisation (NASO), Society for Women and Aids in Malawi, Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco), Centre for Girls and Interaction, Samala, PSI Malawi, My Village Organisation and Red Cross.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :