Jane Muhia is a former sex worker who’s not ashamed of her past and uses it to caution and reform youths over bad decisions. She shares her journey to becoming a pastor.
How did prostitution become your official job?
Back in the 90s, I was a young and naive girl who yearned for a life of luxury. I can’t entirely blame my parents because they did what they could, but growing up in the slums shaped me into a tough and sassy person.
I fell in with a bad crowd that led me away from school, and I only made it as far as lower primary education. From there, I got involved in petty robbery, which eventually led me to mix with alcohol.
I started frequenting clubs even though I was underage. I recall a time when I was arrested in a club in Eastleigh and ended up spending a month in Langata Women’s Prison. After my release, I pretended to have reformed for about three weeks, but I quickly fell back into drinking.
It was during this period that I met a guy who would later become my husband when I was just 19 years old.
What led you to discover his affair?
Everything was okay until I gave birth. My husband was a matatu driver and little did I know, his boss who was an older woman with whom he had an affair.
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He started coming home late and it gradually moved spending out and finally, he could even take weeks without coming or supporting us. There came a time when he left and didn’t return. His friends had dropped hints about his secret affair, and when I went looking for him, I was confronted with the harsh reality.
He essentially told me to move on. I became a bitter and confused teenager, consumed by a desire for revenge against men. With no job and no support, I felt lost. At that point, how could an illiterate woman like me become self-reliant other than by selling her body?
In my pain and desperation to stand on my own two feet, I reluctantly ventured into prostitution, with a friend offering to shelter me as I learned the ropes.
What were your first days in this profession like?
They were terrible. I went for three days without any clients. On the fourth day, I encountered an older man to whom I opened up about my misfortunes. In the end, he gave me Sh5,000 and left. From that point on, I decided to become skilled at seducing men, and on good days, I could even earn up to Sh100,000.
Despite earning this money, did you ever consider pursuing another job?
Once you become accustomed to quick money, it’s difficult to let it go. I had two main goals during my time in this profession: money and revenge. I was a bitter woman seeking vengeance against men.
Did it not bother you to engage in such dangerous situations?
Surprisingly, it didn’t. Whenever I found myself in risky situations, I saw them as just bad days. I could even be severely beaten and still return to work.
What led to your turning point?
Men of God began approaching me for a change, but I resisted initially. I remember one time, before I gave my life to Christ, a man approached me in a club claiming he was sent by God and that God wanted me to work for Him.
I was rude and demanded that he buy me drinks, which he did. I told him to tell his God that I needed Sh100,000 before I would consider his offer. Just before I could finish my drink, a white man entered the club. He approached my table. It was his first time in Kenya, and he needed someone to show him around.
I convinced him to be my friend, and in a short time, he took me to the hotel he had booked, leaving me with over Sh160,000.
You are now a pastor with a church that supports former prostitutes. Can you tell us about your journey from there?
It has been a journey filled with challenges. I went to school to study theology, and now I have a church that primarily helps former sex workers. Our aim is to help them change their lives for the better.