Positive Steps, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), has said engaging sex workers in village savings and loan (VSL) groups and encouraging younger ones to return to school can help fight HIV and Aids.
Speaking in Balaka on the sidelines of a meeting to solicit funds to send young prostitutes back to their respective homes and economically empower the older ones, Godffrey Chinkhota, Positive Steps programmes coordinator, said if sex workers do not engage in gainful businesses, the battle against prostitution and HIV and Aids will not be won.
He said: “We are trying to reduce the numbers of sex workers from 710 in Balaka District through intensified training and counselling to send them back home to engage in businesses and school so that we stop the spread of HIV.”
Chinkhota also said they facilitated the formation of Tithandizane Association to advocate the rights of sex workers and help them form VSLs to economically empower them.
Population Concern International (PCI) reproductive, maternal, child and newborn health coordinator, Wakisa Kachali, said it was sad to see young girls engaging in prostitution because of poverty and hunger.
Balaka District Council chairperson Daud Amini said prostitution was tricky in that while some are running away from their respective homes due to poverty and hunger, others are doing it out of thoughtlessness. n