Salima sex workers complain of police harassment to Malawi Aids Commission

Sex workers plying their trade in central region lakeshore district of Salima have launched a complaint to National Aids Commission (NAC) board chair Paramount Chief Kyungu of police harassment and brutality.

Sex workers

Sex workers complain of police abuse

Spekaing on Tuesday in Salima when NAC Board chair  Kyungu visited the district in order to appreciate how it  is responding to HIV and Aids fight, the sex traders complained that they are abused by cops.

They also said it will be difficult to fight against Aids as they ate pitied, mocked or even judged, with whispered stereotypes yet they offer sex services.

“Policemen do arrest us because they say sex work is not allowed in the country. They take us to the station and  charge us  for on offence of prostitution and demand money to be released or sex and they don’t like using condoms,” Getrude, who declined to give her full name, told Nyasa Times.

The sex worker also told NAC: “Even if we give them condom they refuse and prefer ‘skin to skin’ sex. so we are asking NAC to help us otherwise the demand for unprotected sex by Police officiers  has a capacity to derail the HIV and Aids response”

Kyungu while looking concerned said he was happy with the interaction of the 117 sex workers and their frank talk.

Paramount Kyungu said he is visiting the sites in order for him to learn what the various organisations are doing in mitigation of HIV and Aids.

Centre fo Human Rights and Rehabilitation officials who were present during the meeting have since asked the sex workers to be identifying the perpetrators of the malpractice “so that we can be taking them to court.”

Malawi police spokesman James Kadadzera denied systemic police harassment. However, he said instances of misconduct  by individual officers was possible.

“The police have no policy of harassing the sex workers on the streets,” he said.

Kyungu started his trip by visiting a District Commissioner Rodney Simwana as a courtesy call and while there Salima HIV and Aids coordinator briefed the delegation on general scope of  their work.

He alsov visited Mai Khanda where officials briefed him on how the organisation is engaging the community on  prevention of mother to child transmission project before going to Salima District Hospital as main coordinating unit.

Winding the busy schedule, the board chair visited FPAM Salima offices where the delegation wanted to appreciate the Global Fund project of sex workers engagement in the fight against HIV and Aids.

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