A former magosha is on a mission to restore the dignity of women who’ve left the trade.
Hildah Tlou-Maseko (37) from Kabokweni, Mpumalanga, is the founder of the Impumelelo Yethu Foundation, which helps women leave the industry.
Hildah said she was a magosha for nine years!
She started selling her body at taverns when she was just 17 and later went to the streets.
“In my teen years I was already abusing alcohol. I ended up on the streets and the money I got I spent on clothes and food,” she said.
The mother of two girls aged 16 and 20 said she quit because she didn’t want her children to follow in her footsteps.
“I wanted them to see the need to take education seriously. Above all, I wanted to change my life,” she said.
Hildah said the foundation had already helped more than 50 women through literacy and skills training programmes. She said some stopped selling s.e.x but others returned to the streets.
“We all grow up with dreams. Of all the women I met, no one started this because she wanted to. Situations forced many of us into it,” she said.
Hildah is studying Adult Basic Education and Training and wants to go on to study psychology or journalism.
She wants the government to decriminalize s.e.x work for women but to punish pimps who exploit them.
“I don’t recognize pr0stitution as work. I don’t even use the term ‘s.e.x work’ because this is an option for survival when there is no other option,” she said.
Hildah said her children know about her past and support her.
A 33-year-old who joined the foundation in 2020 said she decided to stop doing s.e.x work after she was almost killed by a client.
“I got into his car and when he took the wrong route, I confronted him,” she said.
“He pulled out a gun and threatened to kill me.
“I jumped out of the car while it was moving and broke my hand.”
A 24-year-old said she became a s.e.x worker when she was only 14. She said being attacked repeatedly was too much for her.
“I’m back at school trying to bring back my dignity,” she said.
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