Drama ensued at Emali town, Makueni County, when police stormed lodges and arrested commercial sex workers and their clients for flouting the social distance rules meant to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Police booked 30 sex workers at the Emali Police Station during the Monday night incident. However, the officers did not reveal much details about the clients with whom they were arrested.
“We found them in two different lodgings with these women in miniskirts and several men,” said Emali Sub-County Police Commander Okumu Dullo.
Dullo said they had already taken all the culprits to Mulala Girls School for 14-days quarantine. He said that they will be arraigned after the pandemic for going against the directive of staying indoors to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
SEE ALSO: 'Hunger or murder': Lockdown poverty exposes African sex workers to more violence
The same operation also led to the arrest of bar attendants and revellers who had locked themselves inside a famous joint in the town. Police forced their way in as the occupants refused to open the door.
Beside them were three other people who were also sent to the same quarantine centre for violating dusk to dawn curfew.
On Monday, Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed warned that police would be carrying out an operation to ensure government directive on the prevention of coronavirus is followed.
“Whoever will be found outside during curfew time, those in public places without masks will be arrested and taken to safer places,” said Maalim.
Majority of the sex workers depend on truck drivers using the busy highway Nairobi-Mombasa highway and revellers. The ‘stay at home order’ has therefore affected their earning as clients are depleted due to restricted movements.
An officer from North Star Alliance, an organization that addresses the plight of sex workers, who sought anonymity, said they had sensitised the group on Covid-19 dangers and agreed on working between 10 a.m to 6 pm.
This organization serves several regions in Kenya and is mandated with providing health talks to commercial sex workers, sensitisation on their work, clients and provision of free clinics.
“Right now we have educated them on Covid 19 pandemic and preventive measures. We have been advising them to engage with local customers that they know and not to travel to anywhere outside their operational bases,” the officer said
The organisation told the Standard that some of the sex workers had subscribers as far as Mombasa and due to the lockdown and cessation; they cannot access those coastal areas.
“Most of these people may be unlucky during the day and are forced to go at night, but remember traveling along the highway is not as before because the movement is low,” he added.
For towns along the highway, North Sar Alliance points out that gays are few. Although they have been affected more compared to their female counterparts because majority prefer meeting clients indoors and not on the streets.