The Zimbabwe Women Against Corruption Trust (ZWACT) has raised the alarm over an increase in the numbers of women who are falling victim to corruption and sextortion in the workplace in order to gain favours from their superiors.
This comes as the Public Service and Social Welfare launched the Public Service Sexual Harassment Policy 2022 as the country is experiencing a spike in sexual harassment cases at workplaces.
This has resulted in the International Labour Organisation calling on corporates to eliminate sexual harassment and gender-based violence at work.
In a statement, ZWACT noted that it was concerned about the rise in sexual exploitation cases which are often unreported due to fear of victimisation.
“Women are more vulnerable to corruption as in some instances they are forced to exchange sex for opportunities.
“Sexual exploitation against women and girls continues to be a menace in society yet the cases are underreported formally because there are no clear reporting mechanisms for gendered forms of corruption such as sextortion,” the statement reads.
The organization further stated that in the absence of safe and confidential reporting mechanisms, many victims will not be willing to testify against perpetrators.
It bemoaned limited legal frameworks on sextortion which hinder survivors’ or victims’ confidence to expose those who sexually exploit them.
“We, therefore, recommend that the government should come up with a clearer mechanism where victims of sexual exploitation or sextortion have access to safer and confidential reporting channels.
“We also recommend that the information on how to report such sensitive cases should be made easily available to everyone including translations to local languages and braille,” ZWACT said.
During the launch of the PSC’s Public Service Sexual Harassment Policy 2022, Minister Paul Mavhima said it is concerning that most cases of sexual harassment, mainly where women are victims, remain underreported.
“For many years, sexual harassment in the workplace has been experienced, but there was no specific policy or guidelines to prevent this vice. Some perpetrators went unpunished and victims suffered in silence,” Mavima said.