GWERU – Growing up in the streets is hardening some juveniles in Gweru to the extent that they now claim rights over certain streets and commercial sex workers are paying fees to operate from such streets.
A survey by The Mirror shows that sex workers have been pushed out of streets such as 7th street and 8th street where street kids are demanding 50c for the ladies of the night to do their business from. Those who don’t pay are pushed out.
An undercover Mirror journalist conducted a mini-survey over the last week and established that small groups of street kids in Gweru are claiming rights and ownership to particular streets and anyone who want to use those streets for commercial reasons at night must pay 50c.
A street kid (cannot be named because of age) who spoke to the undercover reporter said the streets belonged to them because they are called street kids. He said sex workers who parade at night and entice clients from pavements are obliged to pay for using their streets. He said they pay 50c and if they refuse they attack them until they leave.
The juvenile also complained that when the sex workers parade almost naked, they stimulated them but when the streets kids ask for sexual favours they were snubbed. He said at first they plead for 50c from the sex workers and if they refuse to give them they demand the fees. He added that if they refuse to pay the fees, they then manhandle them and they call this kutsara.
“We are street kids therefore the streets belong to us. Anyone who wants to use the streets must pay us first. We want them to pay 50c because they display their naked bodies here but when we ask for sexual favours, they snub us.
“We have our boss by the name of McGyver who is disabled and moves around in a wheel chair. He is very ruthless and is quick to attack the sex workers if they refuse to pay the 50c,” said the juvenile.
Sex workers who spoke to The Mirror confirmed the situation and said a lot of the times the sex workers are working at street corners close to night clubs because venturing further results in retribution from the street kids.
“These little kids attack us in large numbers if we don’t pay them something for loitering in streets where they stay. They are becoming very dangerous and some streets are no longer safe to us,” said an unnamed sex worker. The notorious loitering points for sex at Cnr Robert Mugabe Way and 7th Avenue and Cnr Robert Mugabe Way and 8th Avenue are virtually empty as they move to safer places.
Sex workers have since moved to areas near night clubs and Givans and just a few were seen at the Memorial Library robot.
Frances Cowan the Founder of Casher, a non-governmental organization that deals with issues to do with commercial sex workers said he was not aware of the matter and promised to investigate it. He condemned the behaviour of the street kids and accused them of violating the sex workers’ rights.
“Yes we work closely with sex workers, we haven’t received reports to that effect yet but we will make our own investigations to find out what is really going on,” she said.
“Don’t worry if you are with me street kids will not harass us plus recently Police officers have been clearing street kids from the streets,” said one sex worker thinking that she had found a client. – Masvingo Mirror