I Was Sexually Abused Because I Didnt Have Plan B
When told that a family is being fed by a cross-border, one's mind might never think about the various challenges the cross-border goes through in one trip.
By Chiedza Mutyavaviri
After hearing the emotionally wrecking sexual abuse encounter of Ngundu based 32 year old single mother who preferred anonymity, one will appreciate that most cross-border traders go through a lot to give their families a better life.
When her husband died leaving her with two children, she had no other option but to become an informal cross-border trader.
"I had to apply for a passport and do cross-border trading so I can provide for my children since I do not have any academic qualifications." she said
One day the single mother decided to buy eggs, potatoes, and onions for her vegetable market, only to be told that such goods are illegal at the border.
"I went to a truck driver, seeking help to smuggle my goods."
The truck driver told her that the papers for his load were not processed so he was staying at the border for some days meaning she was to stay with the truck driver since her luggage was illegal and she did not have enough money to continue with the journey hence she ended up having a relationship with the driver.
"I ended up in a toxic relationship with the truck driver and stayed with him until the vehicle papers were processed. The man sexually abused me but I did not have any other choice."
A research done by International Labour Organisation (ILO) on women in the informal economy in Zimbabwe states that women in informal cross-border trading find it difficult to report harassment cases because they are already regarded as illegal operators by both the local authorities and police.
Sexual harassment is a challenge most female cross-border traders face but they have nowhere to legally turn to because they want to provide for their families while their business line is also illegal.