Elias Chipimi says it is not his intention to expose reformed juvenile prostitutes when he takes them to Radio Stations to narrate their experiences.
In an interview, the National Restoration Party president said his aim is to show that the prevailing difficult economic situations and high poverty levels are forcing teenagers to sell sex for survival.
“We don’t use the true names or the true identity of the person and we don’t take any pictures of the victims so that nothing can then go out. And we try as much as possible to protect the identity of the victims. So even the people who are doing the interviews in the studios don’t know the real names of the victims. We don’t work with individuals alone, we work with organisations that are trying to address the needs of these people. We also work with their families like for the last one who was on the program, [we worked with] the elder brother.”
“This is all trying to show the effects of difficult economic situations and the poverty that people are facing on a daily basis. It’s now resulting into these social challenges which are very wide spread but many people don’t seem to even know about it or they turn a blind eye on it. So with the first one where we had a 13 year old prostitute, the new entry age for prostitution is actually between nine and 13 years, that is the age at which they are now entering this profession as commercial sex worker.”
He observed that lack of employment had heavily impacted the majority of citizens whom he said were below the age of 15.
“So you know because the population of the country is very young, so half of the Zambian citizens are below the age of 15 which means that because of the lack of school places, because of the lack of the ability to afford a course after grade 12 –
if you can even make it to grade 12 – a lot of young people are now vulnerable to these trappings of poverty. So we are trying to highlight how serious this problem is by showing these social challenges that are resulting from poverty in order to get people to look at our plan, this Tipangeni or TPG we are talking about which can help to alleviate the poverty,” said Chipimo.
“We want to engage with schools, we want to engage with NGOs, we want to engage with chiefs and also with the government. But the government is proving quiet difficult at this early stage. So what we need to do is to galvanise the interest of the people. Once they see that this is the solution, they will help us to make that presentation because government hearing from one entity may not be enough to move them but when they hear from everybody, its something they would like to do.”