While the so-called oldest profession usually takes place under the cover of the night daring teens in Bulawayo have established their own prostitution rings that operate in broad daylight, a Sunday News investigation can reveal.
The investigation revealed that the prostitutes, largely below the age of 18, in a bid to challenge their counterparts who operate in the evening, have now devised means of operating in broad daylight.
The prostitutes mainly frequent two of the city’s oldest hotels, which double up as drinking spots and night clubs down town.
According to some of the prostitutes interviewed, in the afternoon there is no risk of arrest and mugging, hence they can operate freely. They also said at night, it will be difficult to gain entry into most nightclubs because of age restrictions.
Rundown lodges that are failing to attract clients have outrightly become havens for these prostitutes, even in the afternoon, and refuse to offer overnight accommodation to customers seeking overnight accommodation, claiming that they just offer “bed rest” services for just 30 minutes.
When a Sunday News crew parked their vehicle outside one of the night clubs they were approached by two young looking ladies after about 10 minutes who enquired whether the crew was interested in their services.
Questioned on where the “business” would take place the two said they were flexible, either they go to a lodge or a “base” of the crew’s choosing.
“If we go to (name withheld) lodge, you will have to pay $5 for 30 minutes each and then you also give us $5 each but if we go to your houses, it will then have to be between $10 and $15 because naturally we won’t spend 30 minutes together,” said one of the prostitutes who identified herself as Senzeni (17)
The two later opened up to this news crew after demanding $5 each for their wasted time. They claimed that no one in their families knew that they were part of the prostitution ring, saying they lied that they were airtime vendors to explain their new “8am to 5pm occupation”.
“To be honest I did not fail my Ordinary Level as most people assume, I actually came out with six subjects however, I am staying with my stepmother who is very abusive and does not want to see me furthering my studies therefore I joined this profession with the hope of getting myself through school.
“I can’t really come here at night because of my strict stepmother, so I tell her that in the morning I am into vending, while I know that I will be coming here to prostitute,” said the other prostitute who identified herself as Noma.
They claimed that in the evening they also risked being bullied by their established colleagues who did not entertain any competition and demand kickbacks from anyone wanting to join them at night.
Sunday News also managed to interview one of the operators of a downturn lodge that was offering services to these afternoon prostitutes who said they saw no need of offering overnight accommodation as they were making more money through the 30 minute sessions.
“Rough calculations will show you that we make $240 a room a day and we have 10 rooms, meaning on a good day we can make over $2 000, which is way more than we can make if we become a conventional lodge.
“Yes, at times we have to bribe the police and health officials as we were condemned ages ago but still we are making our profits. With these afternoon prostitutes we know that we have clients both in the afternoon and in the evening,” said the lodge operator who declined to be named.
Sunday News also spoke indiscriminately to a number of men who were spotted seeking the services of these afternoon prostitutes who claimed they found this service more flexible as some of them did not frequent these various spots in the evening.
“Some of us are not comfortable with frequenting these places at night because of the various stereotypes associated with the places hence it is more flexible for us to just pass by here pick your lady up and relieve our stress.
“For me personally, these ladies play a major part in my marriage because while I am happily married, my wife is no longer satisfying me so to keep my marriage intact I get serviced here in the afternoon and then go back to spend my evening with my wife and kids,” said the man who appeared to be a professional.- state media