Sex Slaves: The Plight Of Women In Civil Strife Zimbabwe

Maxwell C.C. Musingafi, Emmanuel Dumbu


This study was prompted by media reports that talk of rampant sexual abuse in youth camps during elections preparations in Zimbabwe, especially since the ‘famous constitutional no vote’ which triggered the controversial fast track land reform programme driving the country into chaos. The researchers thus embarked on a qualitative research based on documentary analysis and unstructured interviews with female cross border traders plying the Harare-Johannesburg road. The study established that because of the civil strife and the economic meltdown women are exposed to risk of sexual violence, forced marriages, coerced sex, and loss of homes, families and social support. These developments force women into transactional sex in order to secure their lives and those of their husbands and children, or to gain access to shelter or services. In transit to South Africa, they are exposed to differing levels of HIV infection. Throughout the journey from home women are harassed, gang-raped by male counterparts, abused by truck drivers and forced into sexual relationships with the South African police. This situation makes the probability of women getting HIV/AIDS very high. Most of them are already ill and have the burden of looking after children they get unwillingly.

Keywords: Sex slaves, civil strife, women, gender, sexual violence, rape, HIV/AIDS.

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