As poverty woes bite, women in small-scale mining communities in Bindura, Mashonaland Central have ventured into prostitution for survival as the sector has been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
iHarare has established that many teen mothers in mining areas, especially in Foothill and Benridge have resorted to se_x work after they were excluded from government-run social safety net programmes.
The Institute for Young Women’s Development representative Constance Mushayi during a virtual meeting convened by Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust (GGZT) said that,
“Women in small-scale artisanal mining communities are now engaging in se_x work due to Covid-19 induced poverty. The challenge is that we have more teen mothers who were relying on mining activities but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector is underperforming.”
“The situation has been worsened by the fact that these teen mothers have been excluded from social safety net programmes by the government and they have remained vulnerable to economic woes.”
Mushayi argued that Covid-19 has negatively affected people’s livelihoods. Due to lack of transport and movement restrictions, a majority of people who rely on selling on goods have not been able to restock their businesses while those employed in mines have been told to go on forced leave. “Covid-19 has led to significant loss of income in areas such as Bindura because local business is supported by mining activities. The demolition of the flea markets has also worsened the plight of over 400 families who rely on selling their goods to miners.”
“Mines have downsized due to Covid-19 pandemic. Artisanal mining is a major source of employment in Mashonaland Central with women constituting around 30 to 50% of the total workforce,” says Mushayi.
Mushayi called on the government to support the women with social safety nets especially at a dire time like this.
Covid-19 had also led to the increase of domestic violence, corruption, and crime in Zimbabwe.