By Moses Mugugunyeki
The National Aids Council says it is worried about the substantial increase in sex work at shopping centres in Seke district, amid revelations that most buildings at business centres have been turned into havens for prostitution.
Zimbabwe has made significant strides in the fight against HIV and Aids, but according to the district Aids coordinator for Seke Florence Nyandoro, prostitution impedes Aids prevention efforts.
Nyandoro said they were very worried about the proliferation of “brothels” at most shopping centres in the district, singling out Guzha shopping centre, popularly known as Chikwanha,
and Musiiwa (Ziko), among others.
“We are very much concerned about the levels of sex work at most of our shopping centres here in Seke,” Nyandoro said.
“Young girls as young as 13 years are finding their way into these shopping centres where they engage in sex work.”
HIV prevalence in Seke is 15%.
Nyandoro said Aids service organisations were also worried about the increase in the number of buildings that have been turned into brothels, particularly at Chikwanha, Marirangwe
and Ziko shopping centres.
Over the years, there has been an outcry over the proliferation of brothels at the three shopping centres and Nyandoro said they were engaging businesspeople in the areas to help curb
“We have district Aids action committees and businesspeople from these shopping centres are represented,” Nyandoro said.
“We engage with them and we share ideas on how best we can respond to the HIV epidemic as a district.
“We are also working with our partners and we have a cocktail of HIV intervention programmes targeted at sex workers and other key population groups.
“We have condom distribution programmes as well as HIV-testing and counselling programmes, among a wide range of HIV services that we offer with our partners.”
A recent visit to Chikwanha shopping centre showed that a large chunk of backyard buildings have been turned into brothels.
Nyandoro said HIV hotspot areas in the district included Dema growth point, Beatrice business centre, Joyce Mine, Marirangwe, Ziko and other business centres.
She said Dema growth point tops the district in sexually-transmitted diseases.