By Nyasha Mutena
A few kilometres from Trojan, the largest mine in Bindura, is a very popular area known as “Musina”, not that there is a border, or a hive of business activities similar to the original Musina, a small town just after the South African border post.
The place got its name due to long-distance truck drivers who normally camp for days while clearing their loads. Sadly, reports from the small community say lucrative sex business between long-distance truck drivers, young women and underage girls is rampant.
What is equally worrisome is the pervasive child prostitution which the locals describe as a very common feature in the area.
Perhaps it is because Society generally abhors prostitution as an immoral choice that one makes and in the same light, views child prostitution with the same lens. At “Musina”, truck drivers are spoilt for choice, as children as young as 10 and 11 offer themselves or are offered for sexual satisfaction in return for food, money, drugs, shelter etc.
The child prostitutes continue to see no other alternative than to continue in their trade, thereby creating a vicious cycle of child prostitution.
During an outreach program organized by Padare/Enkudhleni Men’s Forum on Gender during the 2020 edition of 16 days against GBV, held in Bindura, Mai Taku who preferred a fictitious name due to fear of reprisal had this to say;
“It is with an aching heart and troubled mind that I reveal this common secret, our daughters have completely lost it. Truck drivers pry on our children, most of the girls are barely 15 years old. Yet men they don’t care. To them it’s purely business,” said Mai Taku.
She revealed that as a result, they are witnessing a surge in STIs, backyard abortions, which usually go wrong and female drug addicts.
Paddington Gweza, another local bemoaned the ever-increasing number of unwanted pregnancies and STI’s adding that the future remains uncertain to those who have high hopes of marrying in the same area.
Young girls venture into selling sex for various reasons, chief among them to get monetary returns as a result of poverty. Various researches done in the country concur that there is a strong correlation between poverty and commercial sexual exploitation of children in Zimbabwe.
In an interview with Padare Enkudhleni Men’s Forum, Director, Mr Walter Vengesai said the “Focus of the Men and Boys in Child and Sexual Abuse Program” is one of the program directed towards ending sexual exploitation of underage girls and women. Their primary focus however is on men who are the potential perpetrators.
“The focus of the Men and Boys in Child and Sexual Abuse programme is to respond to all forms of abuse, exploitation and violence against children particularly the boy child by enhancing the capacity of different stakeholders in dealing with child abuse cases. In addition to that the organisation is also engaging young boys in secondary and high schools in challenging harmful gender norms especially negative cultural and religious practices which fuel the spread of child exploitation in communities and in schools.
Padare/Enkudhleni Programs Coordinator, Mr Paul Vingi said the situation with “Musina” demands urgent behaviour-change initiatives designed with a clear idea of the target population and the types of behaviors to be changed.
He highlighted that Padare Men’s Forum strives to raise and or see men and boys who recognize and accept equal dignity for men and women, equal access and control of national and household strategic resources at national and household level.
“These are men and boys who recognize and accept equal dignity for men and women, equal access and control of national and household strategic resources and respect for women’s reproductive health rights. In addition, Padare’s catch them young is intended to raise responsible and respectful men,” said Mr Vingi.