Commercial sex workers in Busia County marked the international day to end violence against sex workers by cleaning Busia Police Station.
Chairperson of commercial sex workers in Busia, Carolyne Kemunto said they opted to clean the station to show police that they were human beings like any other Kenyan and therefore law enforcement authority should stop harassing them.
They said stigma against sex workers had taken root in public hospitals and homes where they come from. “Sometimes when we go to hospital to know HIV status we are despised and chased away. We are human beings,” said Kemunto.
“Not all sex workers are HIV positive, some are negative and those who discover they are positive we encourage them to start getting medication,” she said.
One of the sex workers Juliet Jane, not her really name told The Standard that she started indulging in the activity while still in secondary school at 16 years.
“Whenever we closed the school I used to go to clubs that is where I found clients. I could save the money I made and when the school opens I go and pay school fees,” she said.
She is now 28 years and now very active in the business. It is through being a sex worker that she is able to pay school fees for her daughter, 4 and her sister who is in Form Three.
In a good month she makes more than Sh45, 000. “I am not planning to stop anytime soon because I am able to sustain myself and pay school fees for my daughter and sister,” she said.
Asked if her parents know that she is a sex worker Jane said, “they know I work in the bar and not a commercial sex worker.”
According to the statistics that Health department released during World Aids Day early this month, Budalang’i topped in the county with HIV and Aids prevalence by 8.2 per cent, Matayos 8.0 per cent, Butula 7.7 per cent. It also emerged that Busia was number four countrywide with high new HIV and Aids infection.