The Untold Stories Of Young Sex Workers
These are silent narratives on how young girls get into sex work and are never told. This is one of the most harrowing tales of a 22 year old sex worker. At 14, Mai Kiki became an orphan and was taken into the custody of an aunt. Later she was to drop from school after the aunt told her she could no longer afford to cater for her daily needs.
This is one of the most harrowing tales of a 22 year old sex worker. At 14, Mai Kiki became an orphan and was taken into the custody of an aunt.
Later she was to drop from school after the aunt told her she could no longer afford to cater for her daily needs.
“I lost my parents when I was in form two. I was taken into custody by my aunt, she had her children and I was the only orphan. One day she told me that she could no longer afford to pay my tuition hence I was supposed to go and work as a housemaid.
“This did not go down well with me since I wanted to continue with my education. I forced myself to go to school though I would be sent back home by the school authorities,” recalls Mai Kiki
She had to find her own means of survival, a teacher at the school promised to pay for her fees but the offer came at a cost.
"My science teacher told me he will pay my fees as long as we had a relationship. We slept together countless times until day when he said he will no longer pay for my fees, by that time l didn't realise l was three months pregnant. "
Left to fend for herself and a baby, the then 14-year-old went to live with one woman at a nearby farm. Soon she was to hit the road after a ‘pep’ talk from the woman.
“I went with my child at a nearby farm, there I met a woman who provided me with shelter and food. She later told me how to make money using my body. I had no choice I started dating men and would have sex in exchange for a bird of chicken, that is how I ventured into prostitution,”
For her it has been a mammoth task because of the challenges that she faces.
“I would go into mining towns where I would sleep with artisanal miners as a way of raising my child. This came with challenges as clients would threaten me with machetes, some would infect me with sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
“The money that I realise could not sustain me and the child. Even my ambition of starting a small business could not take off due to financial constraints. At one point in time a man came and slept with me, he left a bunch of tablets and told me to take them. I went with them to a friend’s house but was told they were ARVs. Three months down the line I discovered that I was HIV positive, I have since gone on ARV therapy. ” said Mai Kiki
These are silent narratives that young girls face and are never told and they go along with name-calling, stereotyping.
For Mai Kiki her dream is to see that she fends for her young child.
According to a study by the Zimbabwean National Statistics Agency over 1.6 million children have lost the care of their parents in Zimbabwe due to death and leaving them prone to poverty, abuse and venture into early marriages.
Death of parents continues to haunt children mostly the girl child as they left vulnerable with no one to turn to. They become victims of rape, abuse, violence and most of them are school dropouts.
The HIV epidemic in the country extremely affects young women, with the majority of new infections occurring in young women and teen girls. There is need to scale up efforts to target these populations in order to combat the epidemic in the country.