Zambian prostitutes like Precious Kawainga are being given a chance to find true love by a reality show, hosted by Muvi TV. The 18 sex workers are contesting for the grand price of about 9,000.00 dollars and an all-expense-paid wedding. Muvi TV said it wanted to give them a second chance in life.
“We want to make a difference to women’s lives. These are people, after all,” said Muvi TV’s spokesperson Corrina Paolini.
Contestants who are voted out by viewers would be offered full-time jobs and a consolation prize of between $1,000 and $1,500.
However, there has been some debate about the show not allowing other women in the contest. A local preacher, Reverend Jeff Musonda, gave his qualified support to the sex workers’ participation.
“If those people have transformed and stopped their acts, I find no problem. But if it’s just for wooing viewership, I would have reservations,” he said.
Muvi TV said it had recruited the women from the streets in different parts of the country. Some contestants said they engaged in prostitution because they were single mothers unable to afford to take care of their children.
“I needed to sustain my living and that of my children,” said 28-year-old Precious Kawainga.
“I found prostitution because of rejection. The father to my children turned his back on me,” said another.
The reactions of viewers in the capital, Lusaka, have been mixed.
“Once a prostitute, always a prostitute. It is very difficult for them to just change overnight,” said one viewer, Humphrey Banda.
However, another, Prisca Chisenga, said, “It is not fair to judge them by their past,” she said.