Chinese nationals in Victoria Falls are taking advantage of poverty-stricken underage girls whom they are offering $2 for sex, an investigation by a local child rights lobby organization has found.
The investigation by the Zimbabwe Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC) sought to establish the number of young girls aged 18 years and below engaging in commercial sex work throughout the country.
According to the report, this has been happening in the resort town for the past five years when the government, through the Civil Aviation of Zimbabwe, commissioned expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport.
ZNCWC carried the research in selected HIV hot spots throughout the country where it interviewed a sample of 300 respondents.
“While young girls were noted at all the study sites, extremely younger ages were noted in Hwange and Victoria Falls,” read part of the report, which took a year to be concluded and whose results were published last week.
“In Hwange, the main reason reported to be pushing young girls into sex was household poverty triggered by high unemployment rates, whereas in Victoria Falls the main reason provided was the existence of the Victoria Falls International Airport construction community amid surrounding communities in Lupinyu that are marred by poverty and lack of fees to attend school,” the report said.
Some of the people who were involved in the construction of the Victoria Falls airport included Chinese nationals, some of whom the researchers said they found negotiating sex with young girls.
“During data collection, the research team witnessed Chinese employees at the airport construction company soliciting for sexual services for as little as $2 from young girls,” the investigation said.
ZNCWC said most of the young sex workers whom they interviewed had no idea of how to use condoms during the course of their work, thereby, making them vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.
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