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100 Nairobi sex workers arrested after traders complain they’re ‘distracting’ customers

By Pkemoi Ng'enoh | August 19th 2021

Commercial sex workers in Nairobi’s downtown on Sunday, April 5, 2020. [David Njaaga, Standard]

At least 100 commercial sex workers were on Thursday, August 19 arrested in Nairobi’s central business district after traders complained that they were a nuisance.

The businessmen and women said the twilight girls were operating in broad daylight near their shops, consequently distracting their would-be customers.

Police officers attached to Central post said the round-up was conducted by them and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) officers after numerous complaints were filed by traders in the CBD.

Also targeted in the operation, were street families, parking boys and muggers.

“The traders filed a number of complaints against the group, particularly sex workers whom they claimed were operating in broad daylight near their stalls,” a senior Central Police Station officer told The Standard.

The senior cop said Covid-19 crisis and the 10pm-4am curfew might have pushed sex workers to the streets during the day.

“Some of the women openly entice men walking on the streets. Several victims have complained of sexual harassment by a section of the sex workers, who pull them to corridors for negotiation.”

A section of traders in Nairobi vowed to stop remitting taxes to the county government if action won’t be taken against the sex workers. The business community even wrote a protest letter to that effect.

“The traders said the sex workers were using foul language near their shops, making their customers uncomfortable. The most affected businessmen and women are those operating on Duruma Road, and its neighbouring streets.”

Authorities said parking boys, on the other hand, were barricading certain roads and harassing motorists who failed to hire their services.

Some motorists complained of losing their vehicle side-mirrors, bumpers and even personal valuables.

Central Day Nursery School on Ngariama Road had written a letter to the NMS and police complaining of sex workers’ presence outside the institution’s gate. The management said the twilight girls had littered the entrance to the school with cigarette sticks, miraa leaves and stem, among other unwanted matter.

Another facility that has filed complaints about the nuisance by sex workers is the House of Judah Church on Ndumberi Road.

“The sex workers even show up outside the church on Sundays, when congregants are entering or leaving the worship centre,” said a member of House of Judah Church.

Charles Rubia Road is the other area flocked by sex workers during daytime.

According to the complainants, the women start their business as early as 7am.

NMS officer, William Kangogo, who is in charge of the operation to remove sex workers from the CBD and rid the town of beggars and muggers, said the exercise will last one month, and would be conducted randomly thereafter.

“The directive was issued by the National Government,” he said, adding that some of the people posing as beggars are foreigners who are in the country illegally.

“We are investigating who is housing the foreigners because we understand that some of the beggars, mostly those living with disabilities, are usually taken to Huruma every evening,” added Kangogo.

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