BHESP BLOGS

ADAPTED FROM AIDSMAP

A recent study published by AIDSMAP and analyzed locally by different research firms from data collected at seven different Sex Workers Outreach Programs in Nairobi from a sample of 33,560 women indicates that the number testing positive for HIV has dropped by more than two-thirds between 2008 and 2017.

While no single intervention can be identified as to the underlying cause in the decreasing numbers, it suggests that increasing HIV awareness, testing and treatment in Kenya are reaching this population of women, despite the criminalization of sex work. It is estimated that female sex workers in Kenya are almost ten times more likely to contract HIV than non-sex workers, so they are a key population to target.

The clinics use peer support and outreach workers to recruit female sex workers. When signing up to use the clinic’s services, each woman was offered an HIV test, which was used to monitor rates of HIV. Further information was collected by analyzing questionnaires that the women were asked to complete when attending. Only 78% of the women completed this information, as it was not mandatory for enrolment into the clinic.


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10th of December 2020 was a normal day for Jacqueline Waithera (not her real name) as she went about her routine of seeking clientele at her usual hot spot on the street of Nairobi, in the Kenyan capital.

Jacqueline is a sex worker and on a good day she can get up to 10 men who part with any amount from KSH 500 to even KSH 5000 shillings depending on the financial capability of the client.

Unknown to Jacqueline, this fateful day was not going to be productive to her and some of her colleagues, she was arrested and thrown into a waiting police van. At this point she knew very well that the little she had already earned would go into paying hefty fines.

She pleaded for mercy from the arresting officers but none would hear her, instead the law enforcers would physically and sexually harass the sex workers in the van and later be confined at the police cells.


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Every time I see the lawyer on T.V my heart skips a beat, my ulcers rise and I remember the pain of the accident, I relive the pain, the piercing chest pain, my back stuck on the bed, knives poking my body

, stomach on fire, my broken leg shaking in pain, I am drained in sweat, breathing through the mouth, tears rolling but too drained to cry out loud.

 This time the lawyer is being linked to the COVID 19 scandal. It is Thursday, the third week of August and the COVID19 scandal continues to unfold and shock, The Coronavirus that was first reported in China in late 2019 found its way to Kenya a few months later. Our Government, like many others, took measures to contain its spread. Medical supplies and protective equipment, a significant amount coming from donors, were procured and distributed through our government medical supply authority, KEMSA.


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“Times have changed, we need to acknowledge the fact that our kids are already engaging in sex”, says Wanjiku* who has a teenage daughter. With the closure of schools, the number of teenagers engaging in sex has risen.

Cynthia, a young mother to tell us her story; “In March, when schools were closed, we were excited that we would be spending the remaining time of the term at home. During the first month of the pandemic, my parents were quite strict on me and my brother moving around so we had no other choice but to stay at home.

After a couple of weeks, they were lenient and allowed us to leave the house but not later than 6 pm due to the curfew that had been imposed. During this time, I met this man. He was really friendly and he would take me back home at the end of the day. He told me he was still in university.


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Finally, the murderer of Peninah Wanjiru a member of BHESP has been found. David Megwi was arrested after the murder of yet another woman, same time exactly one year later, he had hired street boys to dump body parts in an estate dumpsite. The boys were arrested and led the police to David. We would like to remind the police of another murder same date the year before Peninnah's murder, same style, same dumping of the body in sacks. The victim was Cyprosa. There are many others.


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HomeBlogBhespWhat African sex workers want

Thika Man Remanded In Attempted Rape Case

A Thika court has remanded an attempted rape suspect after failing to raise a Ksh. 300,000 bond.

The Court heard that on 17th February 2016 at Thika town, John Mwangi Irungu attempted to rape and brutally assaulted Esther*, who is a sex worker.

Irungu appeared before Thika Senior Principal Magistrate Abdulqadir Lorot and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Lorot directed that the accused be released on a Ksh. 300,000 bond with a surety of a similar amount and set 28th April 2016 as the hearing date for the case.

Esther, while narrating the full account of her torment, says Irungu approached her as a normal customer only for him to attack her when she refused to have unprotected sex.

“I told him to use a condom but he refused, fought me and tried to forcefully have sex with me. First he hit me on the head and then severally on my back,” explains the 27-year-old who came within seconds of being raped.

Esther, a mother of two, says the blindly angry Irungu endlessly beat her up while shouting at her saying she must adhere to his sex demands.

“He held my throat and began to strangle me with his bare hands. I bit his hands and that’s when he left me. I rushed to the window screaming and calling the security man,” says Esther who joined the oldest profession two years ago.

Luckily Esther says the security man together with her colleagues responded to the unrest and broke into the room and apprehended the suspect.

“He was taken to Thika police station where he was booked and put into custody,” she says.

Esther went to Thika Level 5 hospital where she received treatment for head and back injuries and was asked to come in the morning to fill the p3 form.

“Despite the pain I was experiencing, I woke up very early in the morning and went back to the hospital, filled the p3 form and took it to the police station,” she adds.

At the police station, Esther says she found Irungu’s siblings who tried to persuade her to settle the matter out of court but she vehemently refused and vowed to proceed with the case until justice is delivered.

“The police officer in charge of the case told me that Irungu’s family wanted to pay me Ksh. 50,000 but when I remembered what I had undergone I vowed to proceed with the case to its logical conclusion,” she reveals.

Esther hopes that upon completion of her case, a harsh sentence will be imposed against Irungu to act as a warning to men who have the habit of sexually assaulting sex workers.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the subject.

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