Love or hate them, the sex workers are part of the community. The sex workers in Malawi’s central region border district with Zambia, Mchinja have formed an advocacy group to help government in child protection, promote sexual reproductive health and fight for their rights as human beings.
The alliance was formed as part of the Pakachere Institute of Health and Development Communication programme on promoting sexual reproductive health amongst the mobile population so that the district’s sex workers alliance works hand in hand with the national alliance which was formed last year.
According to Pakachere Institute of Health and Development Communication Media Manager Grace Kumwenda, her organisation would like to empower sex workers who are not respected in the communities and make them responsible citizens by involving them in child protection and promotion sexual and reproductive health.
She said it is high time sex workers acted as responsible citizens and stood up for their rights.
“If sex workers are responsible and are treated as human beings, they can bring change to the society. Therefore, there is need to respect their rights and involve them in issues like child protection, sexual and reproductive health and other developmental issues,” said Kumwenda.
The group vowed to promote testing for sexually transmitted infections amongst its members, help the police in crime reduction and child protection.
The elected Chairperson, 35 year old Beauty Kampango, expressed gratitude for the formation of the alliance saying it will help their well being as they trade and they will in turn help police and government in child protection.
“We know that some of the girls that visit beer drinking places plying their trade as sex workers are under age but when we tell them to go home, they shout at us saying we are just jealous because they are young and attract a lot of customers. The formation of this alliance has for that reason, empowered us to sweep them out,” said Kampango, a sex worker since 1999.
District Aids Coordinator, Patrick Mulenga hailed Pakachere Institute of Health and Development Communication for introducing the programme, saying the alliance will ease their job in the sweeping exercises they do at night because alliance members are already well aware of those that are under age in the business.
“This will reduce our work as I believe the alliance members will do a better part of the job,” he said.
The district committee elected ten office bearers in the executive and has more than 30 members.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :