Zimbabwe Sex Workers Embrace Technology

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INNOVATIVE sex workers and escort agencies are openly using WhatsApp and other social networks to advertise their services, tout for new business and are also demanding that potential clients pay them upfront via mobile phone company-run money transfer facilities.
An investigation carried out by this publication revealed that the sex workers have now taken to social networking application, WhatsApp, where they distribute their number to potential clients and include a brief on their “services” as their statuses.

They then go on to insist that the potential clients should transfer an amount of between $5 and $10 which they term the deposit fee, before they can start negotiating a possible time and venue.

Hundreds of unrestricted pages dedicated to the sex trade have also been created on social networking sites, fuelling concerns that children are being exposed to explicit content and offers of adult services.

In many cases, agencies and individuals have used Facebook and Twitter to post lurid photographs alongside detailed descriptions. These include names, phone numbers, addresses, prices and specific sex acts on offer.

A couple of years ago, Facebook was forced to remove dozens of pages that appeared to offer sexual services saying it “has a clear set of rules and these pages broke them”. But the company conceded it could take action only when         offensive items were reported by members of the public.

Sunday News managed to get two numbers of sex workers who are offering these services via WhatsApp using the numbers, 0775495986 and 0773912940.

In the first number, a woman who identified herself as Angelina claimed that while she is based in Harare, she can drive to any location in the country as long as the potential client transfers enough money to her account.

“Hie my name is Angelina, send $10 into my EcoCash for an hour long sex session, we can go for as many rounds as you want. I am in Harare but can drive wherever you are,” reads the profile’s status.

Angelina later changed her profile status to reflect a “special promotion” where she claimed that the first five men to send $5 to her EcoCash account would get a free three-hour session.

In the second number the profile reads: “Please do not call, WhatsApp only. Send me $5 for us to start chatting and I can give you my calling number. I offer a minimum of an hour session of sex and a maximum of a weekend together, depending on your money.”

This reporter managed to chat with Angelina and she alleged that she had been in the world’s oldest profession for close to five years.

“I am a professional in everything I do. One might think this is a scam where after people transfer money to me I go on to ignore them and just disappear but the truth is I am very professional. I now have substantial clients who always come back to me because of the services I render.

“What I do is that to those who are outside Harare they can simply send me fuel money and I can drive to where they are but in the event where I feel I cannot manage I simply link them with my colleagues in the profession who are closer to their location,” she claimed.

She further alleged that hers was more of an escort service as she did everything professional and what she charged was determined after negotiating with the potential clients.

“I do not chat with anyone who has not paid the deposit, only after paying the deposit can I then respond to your messages because at least you would have showed that you are serious,” said Angelina.

This latest trend comes after reports that sex workers in the country had opened a special website where their services were being advertised.

The sex workers were reportedly offering specialised services ranging from escort services to short-time sessions.
After this publication published a story on this new online platform the website was eventually pulled down.