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Sugar Daddies Exploit Students as Zimbabwe’s Poverty Crisis Worsens

Sugar Daddies Exploit Students as Zimbabwe's Poverty Crisis Worsens

The lack of governmental action has allowed the troubling phenomenon of “sugar daddies” to flourish, targeting vulnerable female university students who are pushed into prostitution due to poverty.

During a parliamentary session on Wednesday, Kwekwe Central MP Judith Tobaiwa sounded the alarm, questioning the government’s efforts to safeguard young women.

Tobaiwa directed her query to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, highlighting the exploitation of female students by older men due to poverty-driven prostitution. She asked what policy measures the government is implementing to address this significant threat to young women at universities and colleges.

Responding on behalf of the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Felix Mhona acknowledged the issue, noting that it predominantly affects students from underprivileged backgrounds. He mentioned an existing fees programme designed to support these students by allowing them to work for their tuition.

Mhona emphasized the importance of raising awareness about this programme to prevent young women from resorting to unethical means to pay for their education. He highlighted the need for continued promotion of this facility to protect vulnerable students.

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When questioned about reintroducing government grants and loans, Mhona mentioned that such initiatives are under consideration.

Also read: President Mnangagwa’s South Korea Visit Spurs Economic Opportunities: Surge in Enquiries Post-Summit

Chikanga MP Lynette Karenyi-Kore pointed out the lack of adequate student accommodation, which forces students into unsafe living conditions. Norton legislator Richard Tsvangirai identified economic inequality as the root cause and asked about government measures to address it.

Mhona responded by noting that economic inequality is a persistent issue throughout history, suggesting that while complete equality is unrealistic, the government is implementing initiatives to support disadvantaged students.

He referenced ongoing efforts to increase accommodation and provide grants for those in need, reiterating the government’s commitment to aiding less privileged families.

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