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Upcoming events and current media coverage relating to sex work and sex workers.

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Taken from newzimbabwe.com:

MDC-T deputy spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo, who is pushing the legalisation of prostitution in the country, has gone a step further by announcing plans to form a union to represent the working girls. Khumalo, also the MDC-T legislator for Bulawayo East, says she has mobilised the support of 300 city prostitutes for the formation of a Commercial Sex Workers’ Union which would be affiliated to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union. “I have so far mobilised more than 300 commercial sex workers. They are workers (like all of us) and I do not see any harm in them being unionized,” Khumalo told the Bulawayo-based Sunday News. “I will, therefore, help them join worker representative unions such as the ZCTU so that they get the recognition and services that other workers’ unions in the country are getting.

Khumalo – who has shrugged off widespread criticism of her campaign – said the country must recognise and protect the rights of commercial sex workers insisting this would help the fight against HIV/ADS. “This profession is as old as humanity itself but we bury our heads in the sand and hope to wish it away. We must legalise it because doing so will be the only way to understand it better and will enable us to make effective interventions on HIV/AIDS. “The country has been a bit slow in acknowledging the rights of commercial sex workers and I think it’s high time that we appreciate their existence and give them some recognition. “In as much as we appreciate that they are drivers of the deadly HIV/AIDS we should not be too blind to the fact that these people require special access to health services so that we achieve zero stigmatisation, zero HIV infection and zero death to Aids.’’ Khumalo has failed to win the support of fellow legislators for her controversial campaign but insists the country needs a “healthy debate” over the issue.

She has previously threatened to expose MPs who regularly use prostitutes if they fail to back her campaign. “The sex workers are at the mercy of sex hungry police officers who arrest them and demand sex in return for their freedom. They also service some of our Parliamentarians but surprisingly those are the people who are criminalising them without looking at the benefits that they get,” said. “Although the topic is not so popular among some Parliamentarians who are opposing the idea albeit in hushed voices for fear of being exposed I think it creates a platform for a healthy debate.