By Leah Msuku, MANA
Lilongwe District Council has ordered female job seekers that converge at the Labour Office to vacate the premises, alleging that they have turned the place into commercial sex agreement spots.
Lilongwe District Commissioner, Lawford Palani said the women’s conduct of turning the place into a sex pick-up point is tarnishing the image of the Council.
Addressing management team, Palani said what is happening is totally unacceptable and called upon the relevant authorities to take action by engaging the women to relocate.
Palani said he was aware that women have turned the Council’s structure into a lodge in the name of job seeking.
He said his office has received complaints that most of the women spend their nights there and they have turned the place into a pick-up point for prostitution.
“The women have turned one of our warehouse’s veranda into a lodge even though the place is not safe and conducive,” he said. “Due to their vulnerability, they have established a prostitution business that men come to pick them up for sex.
“I raised the issue in the management meeting to alert all sectors and ask those responsible to take action,” he said.
He added that a decision has been made that the women be relocated and probably find another place where they can do whatever they want.
One man who does business within the Council’s premises and sought anonymity, said they have noted men coming to pick the ladies for sex and that there is one lady who coordinates and links up the women to potential male customers.
He said some are picked in the afternoon while others at night. Once the mission is accomplished, the women return to the veranda they consider home.
“Some of those women have been here for months and have gotten used to the tendency. They challenge us that they migrated to town to make money and any opportunity arising they grab it,” he said.
On her part, Labour Officer, Patricia Lambo said it is not the mandate of the Council to provide accommodation to anyone seeking a job within the premises.
“The women come to the Council in search of jobs and they are supposed to go back to their respective homes as soon as they are done with the interviews.
“But most of them resolve to living at the Council’s structures,” she said.
One of the job seekers, Onesta Mbewe said the place is indeed not safe for them as anything can happen since the place is not protected.
She said she supports the Council’s decision to chase them away though they have nowhere to go.
“I come from Mchinji near the Zambian boarder. I came to town for other business operations and I ran out of money.
“A well-wisher introduced me to look for piece works through the labour office so that I serve for my transport back home. That is how I found myself here and I sleep here.
“There are times we contribute and cook and if there is no money we sleep on empty stomachs,” she said, adding that this is the reason most women are indulging in prostitution to find a little something for food.
Palani said the Council, in partnership with police, will be conducting night patrols to ensure that they vacate the place.