HARARE – At least 53 commercial sex workers arrested on Friday morning have been placed on initial remand after failing to raise $100 fine or the $200 bail.
The women were arrested under a police operation code–named “Operation Zvanyanya” aimed at flushing out sex workers from the Avenues area and lodges in the city centre.
Charged under Section 81(2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which criminalises soliciting in a public place, the women were arrested in different places around the city of Harare ranging from streets to pubs and lodges.
Thirty-seven of the arrested women pleaded guilty but could not raise the fine and the remaining 16 pleaded not guilty and were granted $200 bail.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) which represented the women on a pro-bono basis and assisted in the application for bail, expressed concern at the level of fine and bail given to the women, “as the amounts were clearly beyond the reach of the average Zimbabwean”.
The rights lawyers made a complaint against the police on initial remand that some of the women were assaulted by police using batons and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment which included being denied sanitary wear. The women will appear in court today for trial.