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Malawi has 11,000 registered sex workers

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Martha Kwataine

Female Sex Workers Association (FSWA) has said the country has about 10,800 registered sex workers despite that it is yet to regalise the world’s oldest profession.

FSWA Executive Director Zinenani Majawa said this in Salima District on Saturday, when members of the association met with Presidential Adviser on Non-Governmental Organisations Martha Kwataine to follow up on the petition that they delivered to the government in late January this year.

“Most people know us because they find us in bars and other places but there are many of us in offices and most of our clients are policy-makers. We are the ones who are visible because we did not go far with school but our colleagues are also doing sex work in offices. There are sexually transmitted promotions and allowances out there,” Majawa said.

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In their petition two months ago, FSWA asked the government to consider increasing the number of operating hours for bottle stores from the current 2pm to 8pm so that bars close at midnight during weekdays and run until the morning during weekends.

FSWA argued that sex workers were feeling segregated and discriminated against, bearing in mind that some gatherings including churches have maintained their normal gathering hours.

Kwataine said she would present the sex workers’ concerns to President Lazarus Chakwera.

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She also asked the sex workers to take advantage of opportunities around, including National Economic Empowerment Fund loans, to find sustainable ways of making money as the Covid pandemic continues to ravage the country in particular and the world at large.

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