High divorce cases that are prevailing in the country at the moment have led to a lot of prostitution amongst women in the marginalized areas because of economic challenges.
Normally when a couple divorces, their children are left to be taken care of by their mothers who will find it difficult to fend for the children and thereby engage in prostitution.
After the couples divorce, because of unfavourable economic conditions they are paying very little money towards the upkeep of their children because many of them will be unemployed.
Chipo Madziri says she did not venture into prostitution by choice but she was stranded with her three children she had with her former husband.
“I decided to become a sex worker after my husband left me for another woman and left me with our children,” she said.
Chipo is now operating as a sex worker at the popular night spot in Dzivarasekwa.
“After we separated with my husband I started to fail to pay for the rent because I did not have any other means of generating income,” she added.
Like many divorced women, Chipo approached the maintenance court where she was awarded the $90 for the upkeep of the three children because the husband did not earn much at his workplace as a security guard.
The money was not enough to take care of the rent, clothes, school fees and food for the children.
“After I was evicted from where I was staying for failing to pay rent I went on to stay with my friend who was into prostitution,” she added.
She added “Observing how my friend was surviving through prostitution, I decided to join her to the bar which became my new life.”
Prostitution is a dangerous profession to go into because of the associated risks which include attack from drunken clients as well as the risk of contracting the deadly diseases HIV and AIDS and contracting sexual transmitted infections.
“In this line of work I have to be extra careful everyday if I am to continue to look after my children because they are a lot of risks which are involved with it,” says Chipo.
She added “I have been arrested for several times with the police as it is illegal in the country to engage in prostitution but I always come out after I offer my services to the police who will abruptly release me with no charge.”
With the rate of sex workers who get attacked and sometimes brutally murdered, Chipo has no choice but to continue to gamble with life as she has to look for the welfare of her children.
“If it was not for the children I would not have find me trading with my life with prostitution because I encounter a lot of problem which includes sleeping with everyone who comes up with money,” she added.
This is the plight of so many women in marginalized areas who go through divorce and are left with children and some who are enterprising enough venture into vending.
Stella Chigwe, a divorcee mother of two who sells vegetables at Dzivarasekwa, said that life was difficult for them as money that is allocated to look after they divorce is too little for us to be able to upkeep the children.
“The worsening conditions in the country I cannot find a job to do more so I am not adequately educated with children on my back which only leave me with no option but to vend for my children,” she said.
She added “Vending has also never been easy doing as we are constantly chased by the municipal police that we are not selling at designated selling points.”
Zimbabwe has seen an increase in divorce cases with most men being the ones to initiate divorce proceedings.Statistics from the Civil Court of Zimbabwe indicate an increase in the number of divorce cases in the country. In 2013, the High Court received a total of 1 551 divorce cases, a 21% increase from the 1 216 cases received in 2010. And the number is likely to double for 2014 statistics.
The rate at which couples are divorcing has reached alarming levels,” said Justice Chiweshe at the official opening of the 2013 Legal Year of the Bulawayo High Court. He said social scientists and other experts have attributed this development to the general erosion of cultural values due to urban migration, domestic violence, adultery and other social ills.
According to the Finscope Consumer Survey Zimbabwe 2014, more than half of the adult population in Zimbabwe earns less than $100 per month which is not much to cater for a family as economic challenges persist in the country.
Single motherhood is a worldwide issue; research shows that there are about 10 million single mothers in the world today. There is rapid and drastic increase in the number of single-parent families in the latter half of the 21st century.