MOST car parks in Harare’s suburbs have been turned into love nests by commercial sex workers who find it cheaper for their clients to pay the attendants $3 per hour than spending at least $65 at lodges.
Motorists, mostly those who do not have reliable security at their homes, rely on car parks where they pay for the security of their vehicles daily.
Charges for the security of these vehicles vary with car parks.
While car parks play a crucial role in securing vehicles, hookers found it cheaper and convenient to conduct their business there at night.
In the past, couples used to book at local lodges or hotels, but the skyrocketing charges have forced them to improvise and utilise car parks.
Ladies of the night and their clients just drive into the yard and pay an entry fee of $3, which is valid for an hour.
The practice is prevalent at night and the car park owners may not be aware of the shenanigans.
A car park next to Maruta Shopping Centre in Hatfield, along Seke Road is usually a busy spot at night as couples drive in for intimacy.
Prostitutes, mainly from Jongwe Corner Bar and others from Maruta shopping centre and Paramount Signature, are the major clients at the car park in question.
The youthful male attendant comes out of the cabin that is closer to the gate and talks to the hookers, who appear familiar to him.
He demands his $3 before showing the lovebirds a secluded area to park their vehicle, usually behind big trucks.
The couples will enjoy an uninterrupted hour of intimacy.
However, The Herald noticed that some would just spend 10 minutes and leave before the expiry of the paid for hour.
It is indeed a lucrative business for attendants as they pocket $3 fees throughout the night.
During a week-long investigation, The Herald counted the vehicles that got into the car park and recorded almost 90 vehicles for a single night between 9pm and 2am, each paying at least $3.
A few pedestrian couples would also walk into the yard where they paid the fee before being ushered into some non-runner vehicles.
The Herald interviewed a number of prostitutes along Seke Road who said their clients preferred the car park because it was cheaper and lodges were now beyond their reach.
“The car park is cheaper and convenient for us. Clients who pay us about $30 for a brief encounter, find it difficult to pay a further $50 for a lodge.
“It is better to for me to get my money and use the car park,” said one of the sex workers.
Another one said the car park was closer to Jongwe and it was convenient for their business.
“I stay in Epworth and I cannot go home with a client who requires my services for a few minutes.
“It is more convenient to get into the car park and quickly come back here to look for more clients,” she said.
A survey carried out by this publication revealed that lodges considered to be affordable are charging between $50 and $90 an hour and between $150 and $200 per night.
Mugoni Lodge charges $50 for those who would want to book for a short period between 30 minute and one hour while those who want to book for the entire night will have to part with $140.
City to City Haven charges $90 per hour and one would fork out $190 for a night.
These charges are beyond the reach of many couples, who end up being regular guests at car parks.
Car park attendants are said to be making a killing from these hookers.
“Yes, many times we use these car parks for our services. Lodges are expensive for some of our clients who frequent this area. So we negotiate with car park attendants who charge $3 for a brief encounter in any of the cars available on that particular night.
In Mufakose, another sex worker who thought this reporter was a client, was quick to point to a nearby car park as the best place for a “quickie”.
She even offered to pay the $3 to the car park attendant.
“I always use that car park for brief encounters. If you are interested let us go right away. I will pay the $3, and you give me $20,” she said.
Some car park attendants confirmed to the development saying they were making money out of it.
“On a good day, we realise up to $300, which we equally share with my two colleagues. We have an understanding with kombi drivers who leave their vehicles unlocked. We then offer them to those who come here without their own vehicles.
“Motorists who come here, just drive in and do whatever they want to do in their cars,” he said.
Another one said:
“We charge them $3 per hour, but on busy days we demand as much as $10. Our busy days are Fridays and Saturdays. We also give the kombi crews a token of appreciation.”