ConCourt gives huge boosts to prostitutes

In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court has outlawed the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s dragnet operations targeting alleged prostitutes and arresting them for standing in streets looking for men to engage in sex with, saying this does not amount to solicitation as required by the law.

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The ruling comes after nine alleged ladies of the night had their application objecting to be prosecuted for the same offence had been turned down by a Harare magistrate.

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The ruling by the highest court of the land is a relief to prostitutes who have been having running battles with the police in and around the avenues area.

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Chipo Nyamanhindi and eight others were arrested on the 17th of March 2014 in the Harare Avenues area by police under a dragnet operation code named ‘No To Robberies and Prostitution.’

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They were charged of unlawfully and intentionally soliciting for sex by standing in the street, looking for men to lure them such that they would bed them, for payment thereafter.

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When they appeared before a Harare magistrate they objected to the charge, saying the charge was vague as it did not disclose the offence.

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The witnesses did not particularise how the applicants solicited for the purpose of prostitution, whom they solicited from, in what manner they solicited and the conduct of each applicant that led to the conclusion that they were looking for men to sleep with for cash.

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The nine were represented by Advocate Tawanda Zhwarara and David Hofisi, who argued that the refusal by the lower court to accept the nine’s objection to the charges exposed them to needless criminal prosecution.

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The Constitutional Court granted the order sought by the nine women, ruling that their prosecution and remand on allegations of contravening Section 81 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act chapter 9;23 amounts to a deprivation of their person al liberty in contravention of Section 49 (1) (b) of the constitution and a denial of the applicants fundamental right to protection of the law.