Girls in commercial sex work are not vice but victims

Girls in Commercial sex work are not statistics but stories, they are victims not vice as reported online by Zimbabwean newspapers.

I woke up to read this heading from an online paper, Vice girls see up to 12 clients a day. I thought it very insensitive given the fact some girls cited in the article are merely children whose lives are at risk and needing urgent support like any other affected by a Man Made disaster. To think media could label such vulnerable groups of girls like this and think to look for survival is vice and not being victim is just to underestimate personal struggles of poor women and girls. No woman or girl I know would ever give her body to sex if they had basics. Some economic situations become wars fighting women and girls to surrender their bodies to get a living.

How can we call girls whose lives have been destroyed by poverty and disease vice? Why are males sexually exploiting the girls protected from public shame? Why can’t they use their millions to start Girls Funds to help girls with education and empowerment? Where is our human spirit and love? There is silence over men who abuse power and money to exploit the girls. We have protected them to an extent they take blame of their moral rot to innocent vulnerable groups. Are the male clients virtuous and why are we silent and protecting adult men who exploit the girls. And we read that many are setting up brothels to recruit unsuspecting girls from especially rural areas. A girl in commercial sex who is aged 12 is a victim society must think about and government do everything to protect.

And for  Centre for Sexual Health, HIV and AIDS Research (CeSHHAR) program officer programme co-ordinator Sibongile Mtetwa to appear in such a gender insensitive news article is very tragic. As a professional charity please be sensitive to the vulnerable girls and present their stories and pictures in a respectful manner. It is a pity a case of girls all of us are supposed to help with long term solutions are being publicly insulted and blamed in such a disgusting way by mobs of men online. Just look at comments that men and women are posting under the article. What kind of a people are we honestly? Where is our human love? On my part I will not share the article because I respect children protection laws. The article contains vulgar comments the editors are allowing to be posted and making such gender insensitive comments. Why can’t these people control comments on such sensitive matters online for the sake of dignities of women and girls ? This is so shocking.

What we should know is that the girls labelled vice are virtuous and they are in such situations because of man-made disasters. The girls are not Vice but Victims. Why should we blame the vulnerable instead of the rich and selfish in our countries and every part of the African continent. Of course some bad political and economic decisions lead to such tragedies especially on those weak and vulnerable. Sometimes people can’t demonstrate on the streets or show what poverty has done to them but they can sacrifice their dignities through such acts like prostitution. Girls in prostitution should never be just statistics and numbers. Each one of them is a story of failed leadership in our continent. We must call vice those who leaders who are insensitive to plight of women and girls. They should be blamed for allowing girls to be so vulnerable. Let’s all focus on solving the root causes of poverty.

Once again can we remind those working in humanitarian causes to know and understand the plight of girls and remind them it is always important to share their stories with respect and dignity.