Blame it on the 49 percent devaluation of the kwacha.
After all, everything these days has shot to the skies, so do not ask why women who sell their bodies have effected a 50 percent hike on their services.
Satisfying the desires of the bosom has become as costly as putting food on the table.
Nation on Sunday
investigations into life in the oldest profession after the kwacha tumbled in May began in Kachere Township, where the cheapest of Blantyreâ€™s commercial sex merchants ply their trade.
Early in 2011, having K200 (about 8 cents) could earn one a sex romp. Not anymore.
“Now, you have to have at least K500 (about $2), otherwise girls here are now charging K700 (about $2.80) to K1 000 (about $4),” said a source at Kachere.
In Manase Township, respondents reported the same trend. Girls in decent bars used to charge K1 500 (about $6) minimum for short time, but now K2 000 ($8) is the going rate, but a sweet tongue could earn one the services at K1 800 ($7.20).
As for shebeens where local and â€˜shabbyâ€™ girls hawk their bodies, sex now sells at K1 000 and some lucky ones get it at K800 (about $3.20). This is in sharp contrast to the K300 that used to be the dominant price.
Meet Samantha, (not real name), who revealed a few things about the current trends in the sex business.
Samantha, who looks 20, boasts of having started the trade at a popular joint in Lilongwe and has been as far as Nchalo in Chikhwawa. Before the interview could start, she solicited sex like she would do with any other potential customer.
For a short time, the price stood at K3 000 (about $12).
After some bargaining, the price was suddenly at K2 000.
Samantha later disclosed that the K3 000 is floated to punish clients who do not negotiate. She said the real rates for short sessions have been adjusted to between K1 500 and K2 000.
Those who want to take the girl home (full time) have to cough a good K7 000 (about $28).
“Things have gone up. I have two dependants and a grandmother to support. There is also rent to pay and make-up for me to keep looking good. You see, men go for women who look younger,” said Samantha.
She revealed that she lives in a house that demands K5 500 in rental. She has to take a K1 000 taxi home every morning.
Samantha said she â€˜servicesâ€™ about six men on a good day and just two on a very dry day.
This means on a sunny day, she could find herself carting home about K9 000 (about $36), while a rainy day could earn her K3 000.
No doubt, Samantha is one of the highest paid people around. Contrast this with a garden boy who is paid K5 000 (about $20) a month or a security guard who subsists on K7 000 a month.
The sex industry, though illegal, has well-built structures. For example, at Kamba there is an unused building which has been furnished with a sofa just for short timers.
To use the sofa, one has to cough K300 to a guard who then guards the temporal lovers as they sink into the sexual bliss.
The place where it all happens is some grey, spotted sofa placed in a room protected from peeping Toms not by curtains, but cardboards.
While the interview was running in the room, for about 10 minutes, two couples were on stand-by.
The guard could not say who his boss was, but it is easy to see why a commercially viable building is not being inhabited and why it is manned by a security guard and heavily fortified by cardboards.
The guard said on a weekend at the end of the month like yesterday, about 15 couples use the sofa, which translates into K4 500 per day. One wonders how much the â€˜landlordâ€™ gets at the end of the month.
Samantha said using the sofa is safer because some clients fail to pay when they take the girls to their homes.
Samantha and her colleagues at Kamba are cheap girls, the type that do not speak English.
A taxi driver who has inside knowledge of the business revealed to Nation on Sunday that the most expensive women in Blantyre assemble around hotels in the cityâ€™s central business district.
He said the women charge a minimum of K7 000 for a short session, an amount Samantha demands for the whole night.
“Those girls target rich people and foreigners. Some even quote their prices in dollars. Usually, they are not common girls; some are frustrated wives while others are college girls,” said the taxi driver, who went on to be the tour guide for the night.
In Lilongwe, the trend is the same, with K2 000 being the most quoted price among girls frequenting top joints. The cheapest are found in Chigwirizano where our source says K7 00 is enough to secure the services.
In Mzuzuâ€™s cheapest township, Chibanja, the rates have risen from K500 before the devaluation to K700 for short service. In decent bars, the prices have gone up to between K1 500 and K2 000 from K1 000 before the local currency shed its value.
Uliwa in Karonga has also registered an appreciable increaseâ€”K1 000 for short time, from K500 before the kwacha was knocked down.
Blantyre and Lilongwe sources all noted that there is a significant decline in the sex sold as most buyers have little disposable incomes owing to stagnant earnings even after the kwacha was devalued.
“Girls at Manasseh are literally asking out men because times are tough,” said a source.
Samantha also lent credence to the theory, saying that is why new girls cannot stand on the roadside without paying the older girls because the new girls tend to steal the precious men.
“Older girls donâ€™t like to see you â€˜ridingâ€™ many men when they are being ignored. Thatâ€™s why all new girls have to go inside bars or pay us to stand on the roadside. We run this place,” she said.
She shared some kinky secrets of her business, saying one day a Caucasian man asked her for anal sex at a price of K100 000. She said she refused and they had normal sex at K8 000.
“My best day will have to be when I met this guy from Mzuzu. We went to his hotel room. We went to the shower and had sex there while standing. Later, we did it on the bed.
“He said he liked what I did to him and he took me shopping the next morning. He bought me groceries totalling about K7 000 and gave me an additional K25 000 (about $100). I asked for his phone number, but he refused to give it to me. He is such a sweet guy,” said Samantha.
Samantha claims she does not do plain sex, but her friend chipped in to say plain sex for short time costs K5 000.