Tanzania’s Crackdown On Sex Workers: 500 In Custody


After coming in on a platform of upholding law and order and racking up quite the impressive number of achievements to that regard in the months since he came into power, Tanzania’s President Magufuli has earned himself the nickname of the bulldozer. The question of what Magufuli would do with what had become a fast rising issue of prostitution in the country has been answered as a firm row of actions against prostitutes and their customers has begun around the country.

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The trend which occurs now especially among young teenage girls has led to the arrest of 500 sex workers and about 300 of their customers. The police seem to have the right idea as a crackdown aimed at the prostitutes alone would most likely not go very far in solving the problem. Most of the young girls involved in the practice claim (probably truthfully) to be unable to meet their needs through whatever pay they manage to acquire at their day jobs. The marketing of their bodies via prostitution is therefore their solution to bridging the financial gap.


If the men who pay for this services see the huge disadvantages they are wont to attract to themselves for the brief uncomfortable moments of pleasure (the more favored spot now being a cemetery in the bustling Sinza suburb of Dar es Salaam to avoid the notoriety of guest houses), they may be convinced to stem the tide of the practice by taking themselves out of the equation.

It is perhaps unrealistic to expect a complete death to prostitution and some critics of the crackdown share a view on the matter which suggests that cash strapped police officers are often involved in the dealings and could take bribes in cash or kind. The current arrests carried out over the time frame of a week however speak to brighter statistics on the matter of that concurrence.

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The first of the suspects are to begin appearing in courts from Wednesday. Rights groups have however condemned the arrests, stating that the police force should not hold suspects beyond the legal 48 hour limit.

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