Nyeri sex workers to create mobile app to boost business

Sex workers in Nyeri County are in the process of developing a mobile App that will enable them to connect to more clients and boost their business.

According to Margaret Wamukuria Mwangi, a sex workers’ defender in the county, there are about 2,500 female sex workers and another 2,000 male sex workers in Nyeri, and all of them are known to local authorities.

She said the App is one among several other strategies the group is planning to engage to boost their business.

Another strategy is to work in an organised group, which they have dubbed Destiny Women Volunteers, and which helps to improve their welfare, defend their members’ rights and mentor newcomers in the industry.

Wamukuria said the group has several professionals including paralegals, outreach programs officers and officials.

Wamukuria heads the outreach program assisted by Hannah Wangechi, while Edwin Yusuf, a male sex worker heads the paralegal department.

“We have also ensured that the members strictly adhere to the policy of work only and do not engage in fishy activities like spiking clients’ drinks,” Wamukuria said.

Adding that, “In Nyeri we have an elaborate plan with the security apparatus where we ensure that there are no arbitrary arrests of our members.”

Until late 2016, Wamukuria was a peer counsellor at St Peters Catholic Church in Kiawara. She would later quit due to what she describes as a misunderstanding among church faithful who did not comprehend her side hustle as a sex workers rights defender.

“I used to mentor teenagers so that they do not find themselves in the sex business, but due to some confusion among the faithful, I decided to quit and went full time assisting, equipping and laying structures in the sex business,” Wamukuria said.

The ardent rights defender now spends her time partnering with lobby groups to champion the rights of commercial sex workers and distributing condoms to at-risk groups.

She does her work with passion and dedication since, she too, was one of them before she saw the light. Wamukuria got married while still working in the sex industry.

But even after marriage, Wamukuria said her husband, who she describes as a loving and caring gentleman, understood her divine calling and granted her freedom to attend to other sex workers.

“At night I distribute condoms to sex workers and sometimes I go back home as late as 3 am. But my husband understands my cause and he is happy about it,” said the mother of four.

“Our group is organised and we have the structures. We would also feel proud to hear presidential contenders mention our name when they mention boda boda riders, mama mboga and other small scale traders,” she said.