A CRACKDOWN on commercial sex workers in Mansa has netted close to 60 suspects with authorities in the Luapula provincial capital warning that the operation will intensify.
The police brought 40 sex workers to book earlier in the week and in another operation on Wednesday night, another 19 were arrested, according to permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo.
“It’s abundantly clear from a preliminary probe report by authorities that the sex workers are not from Mansa or surrounding areas,” Mr Kasolo said. “They are from Copperbelt towns while some have travelled from as far as Lusaka.”
Mr Kasolo said the rise in the number of prostitutes in Mansa could mean “one or two things…either there’s a huge demand for them here or maybe there’s a lot of new money here being generated, which they are following, but either way I want this nipped in the bud like yesterday.”
Provincial commissioner of police Malcolm Mulenga said the sex workers were rounded up in operations conducted in Senama and Maiteneke townships, the Mansa main market and the central business district.
The suspects are aged between 18 and 25 years.
“Following concerns raised by President Michael Sata on increasing prostitution levels in the province, our officers swung into action and have so far arrested sex workers from different areas in Mansa,” Mr Mulenga said.
He said the suspects have been charged with idle and disorderly conduct, an offence under Section 178 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Mr Mulenga said 38 out of the 40 suspects arrested initially were released after paying admission of guilt fines. The two others were still detained for failing to pay the fine.
He said police are working hard to rid Mansa of sex workers.
Mr Kasolo also lamented that the steady rise in business in Mansa was now literally becoming a proverbial curse.
“It is good that there is an economic boom in Mansa as more people are having more money, but it is sad too that this money is attracting sex workers and boosting moral degradation,” he said.
Mr Kasolo said his team, however, remains resolved to curb the social ill and that the crackdown on sex workers continues.
In Solwezi, police recently arrested scores of sex workers in the mining town who had caused a shortage of accommodation by taking up virtually all rooms in lodges.
Meanwhile, police in Nchelenge have slapped fresh charges of indecent assault on seven Grade 11 prefects of Nchelenge Secondary School who allegedly gang-raped a 14-year-old girl.
Mr Mulenga confirmed in an interview yesterday that the seven pupils have been released on bond but they will remain suspended from school.
“After carrying out investigations, police have decided to charge the seven prefects with indecent assault because the victim did not obtain a medical report to prove that she was raped,” Mr Mulenga said.
He said the girl left for school holidays immediately after sitting for her grade nine examinations and she did not obtain a medical report.