sex sells for r5 here

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

While thousands of asylum seekers at the Musina Showgrounds, Limpopo, are starving, young female refugees have resorted to prostitution.

These young girls sell their bodies for just R5 or a plate of sadza - mealie meal porridge.

Musina is facing an ever-increasing influx of refugees because of the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy.

A Sowetan investigation found that the town centre is awash with sex workers whose catchphrase goes: "Yakho rand chete for sex" which roughly translates into: only five rand for sex.

Traders say attempts by charity organisations to feed the sex workers fail because there are just too many people to feed.

The women who sell their bodies say this is the only way to avoid going hungry.

Those who are unable to get food from charity organisations live on roasted mealies supplied by kind farmers around Musina.

Police also confirm an increase in the number of active sex workers since the opening of the refugee centre.

Two teenage girls - who only wanted to be known as Carol and Elizabeth - admitted that they had turned to prostitution to avoid starvation despite the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

Carol says she started selling her body in December, 10 days after arriving at the showgrounds, because "there was nothing to eat".

The sex workers ply their trade in broad daylight, some in plastic tents written: "Pussi (sic) for R5".

"It's only R5. If I charge more, they won't buy and I will starve," says Carol

Batista Jeffreys of Save the Child estimates that 65percent of girls who had applied for asylum were raped while 35percent had turned to prostitution.

Police spokesman Captain Sydney Ringane confirmed the rise in prostitution. He said police cannot act in rape cases because the girls refuse to cooperate.