May 26, 2017 by Staff Reporter
Sex workers in Ntchisi on Thursday said the formation of their association has helped them to have a voice and to be recognized by the relevant authorities.
“Before our association was formed, men used to harass us in many ways, like beating and snatching our phones,” said Ester Zimba, Chairlady for Ntchisi Female Sex Workers Association.
Ester told Malawi News Agency (Mana) that it was not easy to be helped by the police before they got organised. She said they were very vulnerable to men because they had nowhere to report their concerns.
“Each time we went to police to complain, we were not helped saying we deserved that because we were prostitutes. But there’s a big change now and life has become better,” She said.
The chairlady said since the formation of their association, their clients respect them and when abused, they take the issue to police with confidence that they will be helped.
Ester said the association has also helped them to take a role in the fight against the pandemic, HIV and AIDS, as they always have time to come together and share the HIV and AIDS messages.
Ntchisi District Aids Coordinator, Chimwemwe Mangira, said it is now easy to reach out to the sex workers with different messages because they were organised.
She disclosed that the sex workers are represented in different HIV and AIDS forums as their chairlady is part of the District Aids Coordinating Committee (DACC).
“Since they are organized, it has become so easy to reach them. They are open and free to speak of their challenges. They come to the council to collect different materials like HIV and AIDS leaflets and condoms without problems,” said Mangira.
The coordinator said the sex workers have become instrumental in wooing people for HIV testing and in most of HIV and Aids activities in the district. Ntchisi Sex Workers Association has over 30 members who operate their daily business at the Trading Center.