Commercial sex workers in Kenya’s Machakos county have issued a one-month ultimatum to governor Alfred Mutua to provide them with basic necessities for their operations.
Speaking during a street demonstration on Friday, the group asked Mutua’s county administration to allocate money for the purchase of lubricants and condoms for their use.
“We are here as sex workers, demand to know what exactly is Mutua planning to do for this key population within this county to ensure sex workers get free lubricants and condoms. Sex work is work because it pays our bills and feeds our children,” one told journalists.
They further claimed it is because of their services that Kenya is able to receive overwhelming tourists yearly who often seek to quench their thirst.
“Many tourists visit Kenya because of us. We want our rights respected and be provided with security to go about our businesses before October 1. A woman can do anything if she lacks money. If we stop prostitution today, there is a child who will not be able to attend classes,” he added.
Commercial sex is forbidden in Kenya, however National AIDS and STIs Control Programme puts the number of sex workers close to 300,000 and one in every three is infected with HIV.
In the silence of the dawn, it is believed a number of female prostitutes return home with average of KSh 5,000 depending on area of operation.
This despite several arrests and harassment in the hands of police officers some of whom reportedly demand for sex as a token before victim is freed.
“Every woman who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution, or who is proved to have, for the purpose of gain, exercised control, direction or influence over the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to show that she is aiding, abetting or compelling her prostitution with any person, or generally, is guilty of a felony,” the Penal Code states.