GABORONE — Zimbabwean sex workers operating in Botswana face deportation following collaborative efforts by police and immigration here to sift them by extraditing anyone alleged to be soliciting for sex.
The number of sex workers thought to be Zimbabwean significantly went down over the weekend and looks set to further dwindle with the campaign set to go on for the next six months.
Botswana recently embarked on a campaign that prostitutes will either be detained if they are locals or deported if they are foreigners for their “disorderly and indecent” behaviour.
Acting Botswana Police Services (BPS) public relations officer DiphekoMotube said the campaign was one of their operations targeting emerging crime trends.
He, however, stressed the campaign was not only targeting Zimbabwean nationals.
“Sex work, like any other offence, is worrisome in this country. It’s one of the offences that are prevalent in this country, but we treat it like any other offence,” Motube told our Bulawayo bureau.
But according to a Botswana daily, special arrangements will be made with immigration officers to be available during weekends when necessary.
Unofficial statistics point to Zimbabweans dominating the number of prostitutes in Botswana.
Indications are that sex workers in the streets of Gaborone were trimmed down during the weekend following the announcement.
“I took a drive over the weekend after that announcement just to see if there was any change in terms of sex workers standing on the road soliciting for sex.
“I had wanted to do a follow up on a story I did last Friday and I noticed they were significantly reduced,” said a Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist.
The campaign will also see the Ministry of Health putting out messages against sex work through billboards in strategic areas and on branded vehicles.
Newspaper adverts, articles, posters, flyers, radio and television adverts on sexually transmitted infections and dangers of sex work will also be used.
Botswana’s Mmegi newspaper this week also reported that government officials had discussed a strategy to detain homosexuals if they are locals or deport them if they are foreigners for disorderly and indecent behaviour.