Society and lifestyle
14 September 2021, Jean-Chrysostome Kijana
“We must rid ourselves of all shame and exercise our profession with all responsibility…”
Bukavu sex workers are gathered in pleasure clubs, their workplace. In this capital of the province of South Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, education sessions on sex life have just been organized. How to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and also how to protect their partners? Prostitutes are determined to organize themselves and do their jobs better. They want to make a living from it without causing harm to their loved ones and others.
No more shame
“We must get rid of all shame and exercise our profession with all responsibility,” says Blandine, in her twenties, a prostitute working in Kadutu commune, one of three communes in the city of Bukavu. For this young woman, brunette and lovely, it is now high time to come out of hiding to exercise in complete freedom.
“We live and support our families in this profession, so we must value it and take it seriously,” adds Sylva, her friend and roommate in a small apartment where they meet their clients. For the head of the association of pleasure clubs for sex workers, prostitutes, men or women, must be well supported and trained in order to be able to exercise their profession with full responsibility. They must not only protect themselves, but also protect their partners. To achieve this, awareness and training sessions are essential.
At the school of responsible sexuality
About twenty women, working in the city of Bukavu, have been trained by the Family Health Association (ASF) for three days on methods of protection against contamination of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and against unwanted pregnancies. To this group are added three young boys who follow these information sessions. They are homosexuals. "We have the right to live and express our feelings of love, no offense to evil tongues who do not want to accept or tolerate us," says Barbara, a sexy 19-year-old young man from Kinshasa.
“With the concepts learned, I now know how to protect myself against pregnancy,” welcomes one of the participants. This young woman has become pregnant six times in five years of practicing the trade. Of these six pregnancies, she carried only one to term, which gave her a little girl, but all the other five, I had to "settle" them, she admits, without any remorse.
For many of these sex workers, only money mattered. “I had two prices: $ 5 for a quick pass, with a condom, and $ 20 for several passes, but without a condom. Now that I have just been informed of all the risks involved in not protecting myself, no more question of 'go there anyhow,” Sylvie admits.
After the training, all these sex workers were tested for HIV / AIDS. They have resumed their jobs, but thanks to the new information received, they are now practicing in a more responsible way the oldest profession in the world, prostitution.
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