Sex trade is on the increase in Malawi as a result of the hardships people were facing because of grinding poverty, it has been established.
The economy has crumbled and, with it, opportunity. More than half of 16 million people in the country live on less than $1 a day. Inflation and food shortages are making many women and children destitute.
So, girls as young as 15 and middle-aged married women were turning up to prostitution.
Population Concern International (PCI) reproductive, maternal, child and newborn health coordinator, Wakisa Kachali, said it was sad to see young girls engaging in prostitution because of poverty and hunger.
Speaking in Balaka on the sidelines of a meeting to solicit funds to send young prostitutes back to their respective homes and economically empower the older ones, Godffrey Chinkhota, programmes coordinator for Positive Steps, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), has said his group is engaging sex workers in village savings and loan (VSL) groups.
“We are trying to reduce the numbers of sex workers from 710 in Balaka District through intensified training and counselling to send them back home to engage in businesses and school so that we stop the spread of HIV,” he said.
Chinkhota also said they facilitated the formation of Tithandizane Association to advocate the rights of sex workers and help them form VSLs to economically empower them.
Balaka District Council chairperson Daud Amini said prostitution was tricky in that while some are running away from their respective homes due to poverty and hunger, others are doing it out of thoughtlessness.
The economic situation in Malawi is making everything worse.
Lucy, seen patronising nightclubs peddling her flesh for survival, said : “ I am desperate. I need to survive. I don’t mind being MG 2 (Second wife).”
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