This year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company has been described as one of the biggest as it witnessed an increase in the exhibitor numbers and pre-registration, with sex workers also being allowed to show off their work for the first time.
“It is so great to be here showcasing our work. It has been a struggle, but we are glad that we have finally got the chance to express ourselves for society and the society to know that sex work is work like any other.
“We are happy that we got the chance to show the world that we are not parasites, we are working to earn a living for our families” Sexual Rights Centre legal support officer Sipho Khumalo was quoted by local media News Day.
Sexual Rights Centre is a human rights organisation that works with marginalized groups including sex workers, lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual and intersex community in advocating for their sexual rights.
The organisation has over the years been leading efforts to get these sex workers a stand at the trade fair event but were denied.
Khumalo believes the latest development has given sex workers the chance to quell the negative perception people have about them and to educate the general public about safe sex practices.
“People know little about our profession, so here we teach them that we practise safe sex and we must not be seen as people who are spreading HIV as society views us,” she said.
Zimbabwe as at last year had about 44 586 sex workers, with 7 000 of them based in Bulawayo, according to the country’s Health and Child Care ministry.
Here’s how people are reacting to their presence at the Fair: