Africa

Motorcycle Curfew Hurting Prostitutes in Congo

Motorcycle cabs are a popular form of transportation in the African country

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“In the past, when business was bad, I would still get something from the motorcycle taxi driver who would take me home,” says Zawadi Kabuo, who sells her sexual favours in the taverns of the Majengo neighbourhood, north of Goma. “He would spend the night with me and subtract his fare from the money he owed me. I have no father, no mother, no husband. What am I supposed to do to raise my three children?”

Kabuo's financial troubles started early October after Goma's mayor, Kubuya Ndoole, imposed a curfew which forbids motorcycle taxis to operate after 6 o'clock in the evening. Pedestrians are obliged to stay in after 8. There's no curfew for cars, though. The argument behind this measure is that the motorcyle drivers, many of them ex-militaries and ex-policemen, are suspected to be involved in recent armed attacks in Goma. Many in the city believe it has a strong link with the M23 rebel group, trying to cause a trauma in big cities, thus playing down the sense of control by the state.