The Father of Katutura´s Street Walkers (updated March 31 2017)
Every year thousands of new migrants move to the Namibian capital of Windhoek in search for work. The unemployment rate in Namibia is very high and for single women it’s particularly difficult to find a paid job, all the more if they are mothers of small children. So for them sex work often becomes the only available currency in exchange for food, shelter or to send their children to school, says Father Hermann Klein Hitpass, who has made it to his personal mission to help Sex workers in Windhoeck.
Sex workers in Namibia are facing a high risk to infect themselves with HIV and STDs, to get beaten up, raped or even killed. Condemned to the lowest rungs of society they are insulted, scoffed and despised and rejected by their own people. Even charity organizations and NGOs consider them to be lost, because many of them turned into alcoholics and thieves. Many of the women claim that Father Hermann ist he only one who is helping them. The German priest had established a day center in the towship of Katutura outside the city of Windhoek to support them with a food ration, some clothes and counselling services. Since 2005 he has admitted thousands of women into his program in order to help them to find a way out of poverty-induced prostitution.
In 2015 Father Hermann had become too sick to continue his work and had to be hospitalized. He’s currently still at the Catholic Hospital in Windhoek, dependent on care. The shelter had been closed on the order of the Catholic bishop of Windhoek, the support of the women and girl was discontinued by the church.
The started this story in November 2008 and went back to Namibia in 2013, 2015, 2016. The last pictures for this series have been taken in March 2017.