By Taonga Nyirenda, MANA
Rumphi has an alliance group for commercial sex workers and to prevent the sex traders and clients from contracting COVID-19, it has donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) to over 30 of those that ply their trade at Bolero Trading Centre.
Speaking on Monday in an interview with, the Alliance’s chairperson, Lusiya Kumwenda said commercial sex workers are facing a lot of challenges in the wake of the pandemic due to the dwindling of business and their vulnerability to contracting the virus.
“Commercial sex business has gone down due to the pandemic and we are failing fend for the families we support,” Kumwenda said.
“If we cannot manage to cater for our basic needs, it is, therefore, obvious that we cannot find protective gear to assist us from COVID-19.
“We are also one of the most vulnerable groups that are at great risk of contracting Coronavirus because we receive clients from various areas, including those that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“But there is nothing else we can do but to continue doing business because we need money. We sought assistance from Chikulamayembe Women’s Forum (CKWF) to consider our vulnerability to COVID-19 and the knowledge gap that exists among commercial sex workers regarding the pandemic.
“Our target is to reach to all commercial sex workers operating in the district,” she said.
Executive director CKWF, Tiwonge Gondwe said they decided to support the alliance considering that such a vulnerable group is sidelined in many activities besides facing discrimination because of the community’s perception towards them.
“Our aim is to promote the rights of minority groups because our cultural beliefs make people to sideline them due to the nature of their business.
“These are human beings and are entitled to their rights which are supposed to be respected as well,” Gondwe said.
CKWF, with financial support from Agent Action Fund through Just Associates (JASS), is working in collaboration with Rumphi Commercial Sex Workers Alliance to promote rights of the minority groups which are sidelined in communities due to nature of their work.
The donated materials included reusable face masks, hand sanitisers and soap.