7 March 2012

Kenya: Sex Workers Now Demand Recognition By the State

SEX WORKERS REPORT: Over 20,000 sexual activities occur every night. Prostitution remains illegal in Nairobi City. ( Resource: Mayor's Report On Sex Workers )

SEX workers yesterday took to the streets in Nairobi demanding that the government to formalises their trade. The group caused traffic jam long the the busy Kenyatta Avenue as they chanted and brandished placards that demanded their legal recognition. They said they are ready to pay taxes on the grounds that a sexual worker is taken as any other casual labourer. "We are ready to pay tax since what we earn is enough to sustain us plus pay tax provided that the government gives us time and a conducive environment to operate," the director bar hostess Programmes Peninah Mwangi said.

They headed to City Hall demanding audience with Nairobi mayor George Aladwa, who has in the recent past said he is supporting legalisation of prostitution. He was, however, not available. Peninah said they have been neglected in the society for sex workers yet it is something that has been legalised in other countries. "We have faced discrimination for many years. We have been subjected to harassment by city council askaris and policemen,"Peninah said.

She said many of those arrested are never taken to court since they bribe the police including paying in kind and some are raped. Peninah said some of the sexual workers are also neglected by doctors when they seek medical treatment terming it inhuman and discrimination. "We are all human regardless of the kind of job we do to feed our families," Peninah said. She said the public also discriminates them which has causing most of them mush distress. They appealed to the public to recognise the work they do and stop calling them prostitutes.

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