ibnlive » World

Jun 18, 2007 at 04:03am IST

Teens turn prostitutes to pay fees

Harare (Zimbabwe): One of a lucky Zimbabwean teens who made it to university, 18-year-old Tariro Manyamba studies Accounting at the University of Zimbabwe, but for her, the opportunity has a hefty price tag.

She says her tuition, which has more than doubled in recent semesters, costs more than what an average government worker makes in a year.

To pay for it, Tariro spends seven nights a week at night clubs, and has sex with as many as three men per night for about $ 5 each.

With unemployment hovering around 80 per cent, prostitution is the only work girls like Tariro can find.

"I was very afraid because when my friends told me that you can do this, it was my first time. At first I said ‘No, no, no’, but because I was just looking for the school fees I started doing this," she says.

Tariro's plight has become sadly common among Zimbabwean students, struggling as their economy crumbles around them.

The country, once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa, now has the highest inflation in the world, topping 1,000 per cent earlier this year.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), life expectancy for women here is just 34 years.

But many still strive for the middle-class life they used to take for granted. "When I finish the university, I will go get a nice job," says Tariro.