HARARE – Commercial sex workers in Zimbabwe have been forced to turn to the internet to advertise their wares after a police clampdown code-named “Operation Zvanyanya” saw their business suffering a massive blow.
According to reports sex workers who used to roam the city’s red light districts have become sophisticated and formed a well-orchestrated internet prostitution ring in response to a spate of arrests on the streets and in well-known brothels.
In a bid to by-pass this clampdown, hookers are now operating a lucrative ‘escort business’ that uses an internet-based classified advertising website called Zim Escorts. The site has a list of several sex workers offering their services complete with nude and semi-nude pictures that are supposedly theirs.
The site also has male prostitutes with their pictures published. The contact details are also listed on the site and they include phone numbers, e-mail addresses and physical locations. Their charges range from US$20 to US$200.
“Even European visitors go to the site and business is brisk with no police fears, you make money sitting at home without clubbing or anything,” one hooker confirmed.
“Rich guys in town always frequent the site and hire escorts because they have no time to club and they can’t be seen kerb crawling along the streets,” she said.
“Most of my friends have been on trips to resort areas through this site, zvakabhadhara wangu, zvasiyana nekumhanyiswa nekamba (police) zvinoita vamwe vasikana,” she bragged again.
Meanwhile the police have said they will launch investigations into the operations of the site. “Well, we will look into the matter and act accordingly,” said Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tadius Chibanda.