Zimbabwe goes to the polls on March 29th. Will it be more of the same, or is something really going to change?
The horror stories keep on coming up from a country that used to be the breadbasket of the region:
The Aids crisis, and the creaking health system it has overwhelmed, has left hundreds of thousands of children orphans, struggling to fend for themselves. As once-prime farmland fell back into bush, thousands picked up their few belongings and headed for the cities in search of a better life.
Lina, then 14, had no money for her fare, so the driver took her virginity as payment. Princess, then 13, sold hers for a loaf of bread after the police stole the peanuts she was selling and chased her off the streets. Precious, at 14, followed the others into prostitution, selling herself to strangers on the streets of Harare merely to survive.
The money Princess got for her first client could buy her a loaf of bread. Now it can barely do that. Sex with one of Mbare's street girls costs Z$10 million (25p) — when the customers actually pay. “I'll have about four or five a day,” Princess said. “Out of that, maybe two will pay.” The police do not chase her any more, but they still steal, demanding sex in return for leaving her alone.
Amine, one of the girls who works the streets with Princess, showed a fresh scar on her hand where a customer had stabbed her, forcing her to drop the notes that he had just paid her.
Precious, a tiny 16-year-old, stunning beneath the grime, sees as many as ten men a day. (Full)
More posts about Zimbabwe.
Picture courtesy Times Online. Source: The Road Daily